August 11, 2009

New Acropolis Museum has quarter of a million visitors in first month

Posted at 12:57 pm in New Acropolis Museum

In the first month since its opening, over quarter of a million people have visited the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Xinhua (China)

New Acropolis Museum a tourist hot spot for Athens
2009-08-11 10:46:25
by Xinhua writer Liang Yeqian

ATHENS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — Tourists are flocking to the newly opened Acropolis Museum in Athens this summer, despite the annual exodus of Athenians on vacation to Greece’s islands and countryside.

Dimitrios Pantermalis, director of the new Acropolis Museum, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the new museum attracted more than 250,000 visitors from all over the world in the first month since its opening on June 20.

He said, with more than 14,000 square meters of exhibition space, the new museum was about 10 times larger than its predecessor, ensuring many new delights would be discovered among its expanded exhibits.

Unlike the old museum, visitors did not have to queue up and move together along a single route through the building. Now, it was possible to explore the museum in a more relaxed and informal way, with the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of ancient sculptures and artifacts up close.

The new Acropolis Museum is located some 300 meters from the Acropolis. It is a modern building with glass walls and floors. Visitors can enjoy the antiquities from the ancient temples while looking at the Acropolis through the glass.

From the underground excavations to the stunning Parthenon Gallery on the third floor, the museum offers visitors a refreshing, absorbing experience from top to bottom.

A visit to the museum is a pleasant, satisfying experience from the moment visitors step into the building, due to the museum’s courteous, receptive staff, air-conditioned environment and a splendid collection of unique artifacts that reveal the fascinating story of the ancient Athenian Acropolis in all of its complexity.

This fresh approach is apparent even before entering the museum. The first displays visitors encounter are the excavated exposed remains of a 4th-7th century AD Athenian neighborhood, visible through glass panels beneath the museum’s entrance.

Passing over these foundations into the lobby, visitors can move back in time. After the ticket turnstiles, the floor slopes upward to a wide staircase in reflection of the rising ground around the Acropolis.

The cafeteria, multimedia center and VIP lounge are located on the second floor of the museum. Outside the cafeteria is a big balcony where you can have coffee or meals with a splendid view of the Acropolis right ahead of you.

“We have always tried our best to make this new museum friendly to people and a pleasant place to stay, not only for people to visit the museum, but also for people to have coffee, meet friends and even read here,” Pantermalis said.

He said he and his colleagues were now working hard to make the underground excavations more interesting and organized. He said this new museum inside the Acropolis Museum will be open to visitors in about a year’s time.

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  1. Lord Elgin said,

    08.15.09 at 12:49 am

    It is truly impressive that after all the cheap publicity and nationalist hype the Acropolis Museum has managed to attract barely half the monthly total of the British Museum’s visitors to see its Parthenon sculptures, eroded by 190 extra years in the pollution-ridden air of Athens.

    I await the visitor figures for the next year with interest.

  2. Matthew said,

    08.15.09 at 9:57 am

    The British Museum’s visitor figures are for the entire British Museum. This is a vast museum & many visitors are only seeing certain areas of it. Surveys made in the past indicate that only a much smaller percentage of the total visits the Duveen Gallery.

    Surely though the quality of the visitor experience should be more important than the pure number of visitors? There are many locations in the world better than the British Museum, where the sculptures could be relocated if maximising the numbers of visitors was the most important factor.

    Visitors to the New Acropolis Museum are going specifically to see the sculptures from the Acropolis & Parthenon, whereas most visitors to the British Museum are going to see the collection generally, or maybe other specific collections & happen to include a brief visit to the Duveen Gallery whilst they are there.

    The British Museum regularly states its visitor figures, but has never engaged in serious debate about why more visitors should be the over-riding factor in determining the better location.

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