May 24, 2008

Draft bill for the Foundation of the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 8:41 pm in New Acropolis Museum

As the creation of the physical manifestation of the New Acropolis Museum reaches its final stages, thought also has to go into the operational, management & legal size of a figurehead museum such as this. A draft bill has just been unveiled, which sets out the framework that will determine how the museum will actually exist & operate once it is properly opened. As it exists at present, the proposed bill with give the museum far more autonomy than any of the other state run museums (which means almost all of the museums – the only major ones in Athens that aren’t state owned are the Goulandris & the Benaki).

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Friday May 23, 2008 – Archive
Acropolis Museum unshackled

The New Acropolis Museum is to gain administrative and financial autonomy, according to a draft law which was heralded yesterday by Culture Minister Michalis Liapis and has provoked criticism from state archaeologists.

“The new museum will operate under the strict supervision of the ministry but its legal status will maintain the necessary distance from both the private and traditional state sector that its role demands,” Liapis told reporters.

The museum, and not the ministry, would be responsible for managing all the antiquities it accommodates. It would also manage its own finances, issuing balance sheets and annual reports.

The museum would have a seven-member managing board, appointed by the minister, which would serve three-year terms.

The Association of Greek Archaeologists was quick to condemn the plan, which it described as “institutionally and functionally unacceptable.” Unlike museums in other countries, Greek museums host monuments of national significance and should belong to the state, the association said. It also claimed that the plan “undermined the Greeks’ demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” without elaborating.

According to Liapis though, the draft law is a “bold and innovative” plan that “might even be applied to other large museums if deemed to be successful.” The minister said the legislation was based on a model used in France where large museums acquired administrative autonomy from the state during the 1990s.

State archaeologists said the plan would not grant the new museum increased flexibility and expressed doubts about who would be appointed to the managing board.

The new museum, designed by US-based architect Bernard Tschumi, is due to open this fall. A small section on the ground floor of the museum is currently open to the public between 10 a.m. and noon daily.

Athens News Agency

Bill for new Acropolis Museum

A draft bill for the foundation of the new Acropolis Museum was unveiled on Thursday by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, who said the new museum would be a public sector legal institution with financial and administrative autonomy.

“The new museum will operate under the strict control and supervision of the culture ministry but its legal form will allow it to maintain the necessary safety distance from both the private sector and the traditional public sector, so that it will be more efficient in managing the role that has been assigned to it,” the minister said in a press conference.

Under the draft law, antiquities discovered both in earlier archaeological digs on and adjacent the Athens Acropolis but also those unearthed more recently will be collected at the new museum, while there is also provision for its future ability to present and display all the Parthenon sculptures and friezes.

Liapis said the new museum would probably be ready to open its doors to the public sometime this autumn, while he announced that the draft bill unveiled on Thursday would also be posted on the culture ministry’s website for the purposes of public dialogue, in order to achieve wider consensus on the running of the museum.

The draft legislation stipulates that the purpose of the museum will be the protection, study, display and promotion of monuments on a national and international level and it grants the real estate to be used by the museum to house its activities without any exchange. It also lists the possible sources of the museum’s revenues, describes the form of its administrative bodies, its board of directors and creates the post of general management supervisor.

It calls for a seven-member board with a three-year term that will be appointed by the minister of culture and stipulates that the museum will be represented by the board chairman for all legal matters, both in and out of court.

The museum’s manager will be chosen among applicants responding to a public proclamation for the position and can be from either the public sector or the free market.

Liapis described the legal framework for the museum as “innovative and radical” and noted that it might well be applied to other major museums in the country if it proved successful in practice.

He also referred to problems currently faced by various bodies involved in the arts and culture, stressing that the main priority was to regulate their financial affairs. The minister pointed out that he had already discussed this issue in a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.

Finally, the minister said that the government had decided to go ahead with a controversial decision to demolish two listed buildings that stood between the new Museum and the Acropolis, on Hatzichristou and Mitseon Streets, respectively, in order to enhance the outward appearance of the museum.

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