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The big move to the New Acropolis Museum

More coverage of the move planned for the sculptures [1] currently housed in the existing Acropolis Museum in Athens.

From:
International Herald Tribune [2]

Acropolis sculptures to be moved to new museum
The Associated Press
Published: May 29, 2007

ATHENS, Greece: Three hundred marble sculptures that have survived on the Acropolis in Athens through 2,500 years of war, weather and looting, will soon be moved to a new museum, Greek officials said Tuesday.

The sculptures, weighing up to 2.5 tons each, were carved in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. to decorate the Parthenon and other temples. Most are currently exhibited in a small museum on the Acropolis.

A new glass and concrete museum, purpose-built to house all the Acropolis finds at the foot of the hill, will open in early 2008, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said.

A huge operation will start in September to move the marble works to the new museum, which is scheduled to open next year, the officials said.

“It will be a very difficult undertaking,” said Voulgarakis. “This has never been done before. (But) I think everything will go well.”

Three cranes, standing up to 50 meters (165 feet) tall, will relay the sculptures from the old museum on the Acropolis to the new, €129 million (US$174 million) building — a distance of some 400 meters (yards).

The operation will cost €2.5 million (US$3.4 million) and is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, Voulgarakis said.

“It will depend on the weather too,” he said. “Our main concern was to ensure the works’ safe transportation and that minimal damage is caused to the monuments. The cost is not a concern.”

Among the works to be moved will be four Caryatids from the Erechtheion temple — decorative statues that held up a small porch — and sections of the Parthenon pediment and 162-meter (530-feet) frieze.

The sculptures will be stored in foam-packed metal boxes, while the cranes are designed to absorb shocks that could damage the precious works.

The move will be insured — although that could be complicated.

“These works are beyond price,” Voulgarakis said. “Nobody can set a precise value to one of the Caryatids.”

Initially scheduled for completion before the 2004 Athens Olympics, construction of the new, 20,000-sq. meter (215,000-sq. foot) museum was delayed by long-running legal fights and new archaeological discoveries at the site.

The two-story building will be capped by a glass hall containing the Parthenon sculptures. The glass walls will allow visitors a direct view of the ancient temple.

Blank spaces will be left for sculptures removed from the Parthenon two centuries ago by British diplomat Lord Elgin, which are now in the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned long and unsuccessfully for their return.

The 14,000-sq. meter (150,000-sq. foot) new exhibition area will contain more than 4,000 works — 10 times the amount currently on display in the old museum. Most have never been exhibited before.

“Many more of the Parthenon’s sculptures will be on view in the new display, including many that are now in storage, or fragments that have been reassembled in the 1980s and 1990s,” said archaeologist Alexandros Mantis.

The new museum was designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece’s Michael Photiades. It will incorporate, under a glass cover, building remains from a 3rd-7th century Athenian neighborhood discovered in the 1990s during preliminary work on the site.

The old Acropolis museum will close to visitors in July to facilitate the move, Voulgarakis said.

From:
France 24 [3]

29/05/07 19h04 GMT+1
AFP News brief
Giant cranes to relay Acropolis marbles to new museum

Greece unveiled details Tuesday of a giant operation to relocate hundreds of priceless marble sculptures from the ancient Acropolis in Athens to a new museum slated to open later this year.

Sculptures considered masterpieces of Greek Classical art — such as the Parthenon friezes and the Erechtheion’s renowned Caryatids — are to be lifted by a relay of three cranes from their current location, a small museum dug into the Acropolis rock in the late 19th century.

“This is a historic undertaking, never before attempted in the world,” Culture Minister George Voulgarakis told a news conference.

The cranes will deposit the fifth century BC pieces — some of whom weigh over two tonnes — onto the roof of the new museum, a distance of 300 metres (yards) downhill.

The operation is expected to cost around eight million euros (10.7 million dollars) and last between three and four months.

“Our criterion was the safety of the fragmnets and the protection of the site, not the cost,” Voulgarakis said.

Before leaving the Acropolis rock for the first time in their history, the pieces will be carefully packaged in 17 iron containers of various types and sizes, Voulgarakis said.

Most of the statues will make the journey upright on plastic bases. The most fragile amongst them will be wrapped in shock-absorbing synthetic foam, held in place by wooden supports.

The operation will begin in the autumn.

An alternative proposal considered by Greek archaeologists was lowering the artifacts by crane onto a purpose-built track leading to the new museum.

The New Acropolis Museum is the cornerstone of Greece’s campaign to recover the Parthenon Marbles, a collection of sculpted friezes depicting gods, men and monsters that were removed from the temple by agents of British ambassador Lord Elgin in 1806-11, at a time when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.

The Greeks have for 20 years demanded their return from the British Museum, complaining that the works — masterpieces executed at the height of the Greek classical period — were illegally removed and are part of their national heritage.

Begun in 2002, the New Acropolis Museum is expected to be completed in September and will open to visitors in early 2008, the minister said.

The three-storey building — 23 metres high, covering 25,000 square metres and costing 129 million euros (174 million dollars) — was designed by Franco-Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi.

Originally supposed to have been completed ahead of the Athens 2004 Games, it was delayed by court appeals filed by local residents whose homes around the museum were demolished.

From:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [4]

Greece prepares to move Acropolis marbles
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | 5:36 PM ET
CBC Arts

The 300 marble statues that have graced the Acropolis for the last 2,500 years will soon be leaving their ancient site.

Greek officials announced Tuesday that the sculptures soon will be moved to a new museum built at the foot of the hill to house Acropolis finds.

When the museum opens in 2008, visitors will see the sculptures in glass-walled rooms that afford a view of the hill where they once stood.

Work to move the sculptures, weighing up to 2.25 tonnes each, will begin before July and could last until the end of the year.

The statues, which include the four Caryatids from the Erechtheion temple, were carved in the 6th and 5th centuries BC to decorate the Parthenon and other temples that stand on the Acropolis.

But they were vulnerable to time, pollution and acid rain when they stood outdoors. Many are currently exhibited in a small museum on the Acropolis.

Moving the statues will be a meticulously planned operation costing $3.6 million.

“It will be a very difficult undertaking,” Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said on Tuesday. “This has never been done before. [But] I think everything will go well.”

Three 50-metre cranes will move the sculptures from the old museum on the Acropolis to the new building — a distance of 400 metres.

The sculptures will be stored in foam-packed metal boxes, while the cranes are designed to absorb shocks that could damage the marble.
Museum delayed by legal fights, archeological finds

“These works are beyond price,” Voulgarakis said. “Nobody can set a precise value to one of the Caryatids.”

The $186-million museum was scheduled for completion before the 2004 Athens Olympics, but it was delayed by legal fights and new archeological discoveries made at the site.

The new museum will contain more than 4,000 works — many of which have never been exhibited before.

A space will be left for the Elgin marbles, taken from the Parthenon to Britain in 1806. Greece still hopes to recover the sculptures from Britain.

Designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi and Greece’s Michael Photiades, the museum incorporates the remains of a 3rd- to 7th-century Athenian neighbourhood discovered during preliminary work on the site.

With files from the Associated Press

From:
Monsters & Critics [5]

Acropolis sculptures to be moved into new museum
May 30, 2007, 12:07 GMT

Athens – More than 300 sculptures currently housed on the ancient Acropolis are due to be moved into a new museum by September, Greek officials said Wednesday.

The sculptures, dating from the 5th century BC and weighing up to 2.5 tons each, are to be moved with the help of three of the largest lifting cranes in Europe from the small museum on the ancient rock to a new glass and concrete building that is being completed near the Acropolis.

Officials at the Culture Ministry said all the exhibits, including sections of the Parthenon frieze, would be transferred in September so the new 20,000-square-metre museum could open to the public in early 2008.

Culture Minister Giorgos Vougarakis said the government was still examining ways of insuring the artifacts against damage. The entire operation is expected to cost 2.5 million euros.

He said the antiquities would be wrapped in protective packaging and put into crates. They are due to be transferred in three stages. The cranes would be placed some 100 metres apart and the crates would be relayed between them.

The final crane would then lower the crates onto the museum’s first or third-floor balconies so that the artifacts could be placed inside the building.

The new museum was initially expected to be completed in time for the 2004 Olympics but was delayed by new archaeological discoveries and legal disputes.

The building, designed by US architect Bernard Tschumi and Greek architect Michael Photiades, will include a specially designed glass exhibit hall containing the Parthenon sculptures.

The glass hall is intended to allow visitors a direct view of the ancient temple.

A number of the Parthenon sculptures are currently housed at the British Museum in London, and Greece has been fighting an ongoing campaign for their return.
© 2007 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur