February 14, 2009

Opening plans for the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 5:57 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

A couple more articles on the plans for the formal inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Saturday February 14, 2009 – Archive
Grand opening in June

Much-awaited launch of New Acropolis Museum finally to go ahead, minister says

The long-awaited opening of Athens’s New Acropolis Museum, a controversial glass-and-concrete construction that has been designed to accommodate the missing Parthenon Marbles, is to take place on June 20, the culture minister revealed yesterday.

Antonis Samaras announced the inauguration date yesterday following talks with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at Maximos Mansion.

It was the fourth time the museum’s inauguration has been heralded since ruling New Democracy came to power in March 2004.

The original plan had been to open the new museum ahead of the 2004 Olympics with the aim of stressing the absence of the Parthenon Marbles from the museum at a time that Greece was the focus of global attention. The British Museum refuses to give up the sculptures that it acquired after Lord Elgin hacked them out of the Parthenon 200 years ago.

A string of hiccups and delays in fine-tuning the exhibition space in the Athens museum has postponed the scheduled opening several times. But Samaras said yesterday that the exhibition blueprint finally got rubber-stamped this week.

The minister said that the inauguration of the museum, a 129-million-euro creation by Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi, would put Greece back on the map culturally and claimed it could even help fight the impact of the global financial crisis. “Greek culture is a source of wealth for our country and, during these difficult and crucial times for our economy, we owe it to ourselves to highlight it as much as possible and exploit it to the full,” he said.

The minister did not reveal any details about the inauguration ceremony but he did say that plans for a 6-million-euro spectacle had been scrapped in favor of a more modest celebration that would not exceed 3.5 million euros.

“We are cutting spending where we can but the fundamentals will remain untouched,” Samaras said without elaborating. The minister said that details about the inauguration would be given during a press conference on Monday.

China Post (Taiwan)

Art & Leisure
Updated Monday, February 16, 2009 11:12 am TWN, Bloomberg
Greece sets opening date for New Acropolis Museum

Greece will formally inaugurate the New Acropolis Museum, showcasing sculptures from the 2,500 year— old Parthenon temple, on June 20, Culture Minister Antonis Samaras told reporters in Athens Friday. Designed by Swiss-born architect Bernard Tschumi and Greece’s Michael Photiades, the glass-and-concrete museum at the foot of the temple has been built to press Greece’s case for a return of the Elgin Marbles, the fifth-century BC sculptures taken from the Parthenon and now housed in the British Museum.

Although an international competition to design the museum was called in 1989, court challenges by residents, the discovery of more ruins on the site and political disputes have hampered completion of the building. Greece missed the opportunity to press its case for the return of the marbles in 2004, when the world’s attention was focused on Athens for the Olympic Games.

Samaras didn’t say whether a planned 6 million-euro (US$8.5 million) program of events to promote the museum was still scheduled. Some Greek media have reported the original plans will be scaled back, due to the global economic crisis. “We’re making the necessary cuts where we can,” said Samaras, who spoke after meeting Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. “On the other hand, basic needs will be fully met.”

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