July 14, 2007

Transfer of artefacts to New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 12:50 pm in Acropolis, New Acropolis Museum

The old Acropolis Museum has now closed ready for the move of artefacts to the New Acropolis Museum.

Athens News Agency

Transfer of exhibits to new Acropolis Museum

The old Acropolis Museum built almost next to the Parthenon on the summit of the Sacred Rock in Athens was permanently closed in early July after being in operation for 133 years and work has begun on preparing all its exhibits for transfer to the new Acropolis Museum designed by architect Bernard Tschumi by mid September.

Crews of expert conservators and restorers have undertaken to prepare the roughly 330 huge Parthenon exhibits for the transfer by replacing their brass parts with ones made from titanium and cleaning the surface of the statues and bas-reliefs using laser techniques.

The transfer is expected to be completed in roughly 2 months with 4 transfers daily namely, a container every 2.5 hours.

Hundreds of statues and priceless artifacts currently kept in warehouses will also be exhibited for the first time ever in the new museum.

A demonstration of the technique used to package the artifacts was made on Thursday to Culture Minister George Voulgarakis who visited the old museum of the Acropolis.

International Herald Tribune

Greece packs up ancient statues for new Acropolis museum
The Associated Press
Published: July 12, 2007

ATHENS, Greece: Many of Greece’s most valued ancient statues are wearing chains and padded vests, ready for a rare outing.

Culture Ministry officials demonstrated Thursday how more than 300 statues from the Acropolis are being packed for a move this autumn to a new museum being built at the bottom of the hill.

Statues from the Parthenon and other temples, up to 2,600 years old and weighing up to 2.5 tons, are being fitted with padded harnesses and will be lowered by chains and pulleys into styrofoam-filled boxes made out of plywood and metal.

Once packed, they will be moved by crane from a tiny museum on the Acropolis to a purpose-built glass and concrete museum designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi.

“This is an operation which requires great care … We will work long hours and through holidays,” supervising engineer Costas Zambas told The Associated Press.

Among items requiring special attention during the transfer are four Caryatids — stone columns sculpted in the shape of women — as well as older limestone artifacts created before marble became popularly used.

“The Caryatids require special attention … They are built with good material but have been strained by prolonged exposure to atmospheric pollution and other factors and require great care when being packed and unpacked,” Zambas said.

The old Acropolis museum was closed last month to facilitate the transfer — surprising many Acropolis visitors who are turned away from the site.

Fifty-meter tall (165-foot) shock-absorbing cranes will be used for the transfer that is due to last about six weeks and will cost and estimated €2.5 million (US$3.5 million).

“It will take longer if there is bad weather. The operation will stop when there is rain or strong winds,” Zambas said.

The new Acropolis museum is due to open in early 2008, and will include exhibition space for the Parthenon Marbles collection — also known as the Elgin Marbles — which Greece is demanding be returned from the British Museum in London.

It will also allow the public to view artifacts which are currently on display and are now being kept in storage.

Zambas said the new venue would visitors to properly appreciate the artworks.

“This move is necessary mainly because these masterpieces must be appreciated from a distance as well as from close up … the old museum gave the visitor no distance, and it was very crowded in the summer.”

On Thursday, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis visited the packing area, and took off his jacket to help technicians carefully load the Kritios Boy, a marble statue of a youth made around 480 B.C., into a plywood box.

The exercise lasted 15 minutes.

“Great care is being taken at every stage of the transfer … many statues are undergoing restoration work before the transfer,” Voulgarakis said afterward, adding that the air content in sealed display holding the Caryatids was already being altered for the statues to adapt to the conditions at the new museum.

“The new Acropolis museum and all the complex projects associated with it is undoubtedly the most important work that the Culture Ministry is currently undertaking,” he said.


Associated Press writer Nathalie Rendevski Savaricas contributed to this report.

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