Athens gift to visitors, the glass floored gallery houses relics from the slopes of the Acropolis. The transparent glass floor provides a view of an archeological excavation while the upward slope of the floor represents the ascent to the Acropolis. This is one of the best museums I’ve ever visited. It was designed by architect Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and inaugurated in the summer of 2009. The Museum hosts its collections across three levels, as well as in the archaeological excavation that lies at its foundations.
The Museum’s exhibition culminates on the third floor, in the glass-encased “Parthenon Gallery”. The relief sculptures of the Parthenon frieze depicting the Panathenaic procession are exhibited in continuous sequence along the perimeter of the external surface of the rectangular concrete core of the Gallery. The metopes, the marble slabs with relief representations from Greek mythology, are exhibited in between the stainless-steel columns of the Gallery, which are the same in number as the columns of the Parthenon. The colossal figures of the two pediments have been placed on pedestals on the east and west sides of the Gallery. The east pediment depicts the birth of the Goddess Athena, emerging from the head of her father Zeus, and the west pediment depicts the battle between Athena and Poseidon over the land of Attica. The third floor is the exact length of the Parthenon.
Many of the displays provide line drawings the exact size of a particular ancient and actual remnants attached of the drawing, providing a real look at a particular site as the excavations continue to reveal original pieces.
Amid the treasures are video displays, 3 D projections and you can tour virtually the Archaic Gallery and the Parthenon Gallery. The “walk-through” feature of the project uses Google’s Street View technology. Explore physical and contextual information provided about the collection of the Acropolis Museum. The virtual images of artworks are reproduced at extremely high quality.
From the NY Times article on the Six Sisters: For 2,500 years, the six sisters stood unflinching atop the Acropolis, as the fires of war blazed around them, bullets nicked their robes, and bombs scarred their curvaceous bodies. When one of them was kidnapped in the 19th century, legend had it that the other five could be heard weeping in the night. But only recently have the famed Caryatid statues, among the great divas of ancient Greece, had a chance to reveal their full glory. For three and a half years, conservators at the Acropolis Museum have been cleaning the maidens, Ionic columns in female form believed to have been sculpted by Alkamenes, a student of ancient Greece’s greatest artist, Phidias. Their initial function was to prop up a part of the Erechtheion, the sacred temple near the Parthenon that paid homage to the first kings of Athens and the Greek gods Athena and Poseidon. Today they are star attractions in the museum; the originals outside were replaced with reproductions in 1979 to keep the real maidens safe. Over the centuries, a coat of black grime came to mask their beauty. Now conservators have restored them to their original ivory glow, using a specially developed laser technology.
During the cleaning and restoration of the Six Sisters, which was done on site, the museum recorded the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwCNfQh8Woo&feature=youtu.be
Plan to spend several hours roaming this beautifully detailed and stylish educational museum. Not far from the Acropolis, hike the Acropolis and Parthenon grounds before the heat in the morning, lunch near the museum and spend your afternoon in the museum. See post on lunch at Gods Restaurant.