Despite the fact that its opening was a few months ago, press coverage of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens continues, with regular reviews – the vast majority of which are positive.
Greece Unveils Museum Meant for Stolen Sculptures
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Greece has built a new museum to reclaim the Parthenon Marbles, or Elgin Marbles, from the British Museum. The Parthenon Marbles are symbols of ancient Greek glory that were chiseled off the Parthenon temple two centuries ago by Lord Elgin. Greece has been demanding their return for decades, and in the past the main argument against their return was Greece’s lack of a suitable location for their display. The new Acropolis Museum is a proud rebuttal and call for their return.
Located at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, the modern museum’s five-stories of exterior glass walls reflect images of the Parthenon and surrounding ruins. The museum is the new home for hundreds of statues from the Archaic and Classical eras, but the Parthenon Gallery on the top floor is the museum’s showcase, says archaeologist Naya Charmalia, a member of the museum’s exhibition team. “This is the crown of the building, a glass box and glass surfaces, because the major requirement was the visual link to the Acropolis. You can see the monument and at the same time the sculptures from the monument,” Charmalia says. In the display, plaster casts of the sculptures housed in London are interspersed with original pieces Lord Elgin left behind.
Charmalia says the contrast between the stark white plaster and the ancient honey-colored stone has a specific purpose. “Everyone understands at once what is missing, because if you say numbers, you can’t understand, but you can see how many are missing,” she says.
While pressure on the British Museum has increased, its spokeswoman, Hannah Boulton, firmly rejects repatriating the chiseled marbles to Greece.