Acropolis Museum - A highlights report (June 2015 - May 2016)

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Acropolis Museum

A highlights report June 2015 - May 2016

year seven

President’s message The seventh year of the operation of the Acropolis Museum was marked by three key features: the first was that staff managed to continue to maintain the high standard of services provided to visitors: the second was the visible expansion of varied digital applications in the Museum galleries and finally, there was a significant step forward in consolidating our innovative approach to temporary exhibitions. The Museum’s staff, both in the Security and Front Desk Departments, successfully met the demands of an average of over 4000 visitors daily, facilitating smooth entry, movement and a positive visitor experience in the Museum. Of particular significance is the role that staff plays in resolving the daily issues that arise in the management of large crowds. The Museum shops introduced an array of new products inspired by the Museum exhibits and of prerequisite quality and the Museum’s Conservation Workshops also continued to provide Museum stores with a supply of new reproductions of Museum exhibits of the highest standard. In the area of digital applications, the digital restoration of original color and bronze of the Kore 670 was developed, and is presented to the public in the Archaic Gallery. A video documenting the history of the varied adventures of the sculptures

of the Parthenon from the 17th century till today was produced and is presented in the forecourt of the Parthenon Gallery. Both presentations are the product of extended research undertaken by Museum staff. The temporary exhibition on the Mysteries of the Great Gods of Samothrace formed the opening chapter to a series of new activities in the Museum. This was the first exhibition in a larger program that aspires to present lesser known but very significant works from museums of regional Greece. The Acropolis Museum aims to provide its visitors with an enriched experience of Greek antiquity, while simultaneously exciting their interest in the regional areas of origin and their frequently unseen monuments. A new approach has been developed for these exhibitions, which in addition to exhibiting the antiquities themselves, include constructed forms that refer to the buildings from which exhibits originate, as well as including a wealth of audiovisual material that presents the archaeological sites and the natural environment and context in which the monuments developed. In the Samothrace exhibition, for example, a large section of the circular building known as the Arsinoeion provided the setting for the exhibition, as did a section of the Propylon of Ptolemy Β’, while the ground plan of a theatre-like construction that is located

at the entrance to the ancient Sanctuary, appeared on the exhibition floor. Video projections featuring Samothrace’s unique natural environs and monuments were presented for the duration of the exhibition. In addition the Museum established a new ‘minimal’ exhibition format in the Museum lobby with small numbers of very significant exhibits that are accompanied by informative videos, enabling visitors a view of exhibits that moves beyond the static exhibit to a multifaceted and dynamic view of the same object. All this work was affirmed this year with the recent recognition accorded to the Museum by the users of TripAdvisor, the largest electronic network for the tourist world, reflecting the Museum’s assertive policy and programming of communication with visitors. Finally, I wish to dedicate this year’s annual report to the memory of the great artist, academic and distinguished member of the Acropolis Museum Board of Directors, Panagiotis Tetsis,

Dimitrios Pandermalis President

Our visitors Total visitors

1,425,100 visitors arriving independently 75%


visitors arriving in organized groups 25%


Languages spoken* by independent visitors

Countries of origin* independent visitors

United Kingdom

China 14,201_2%


















France 70,131_7%










Other 179,343_20%


Total visitors

340,067 243,390 82,039 51,716 42,183 34,984 16,884 13,154 12,643 11,914 86,132

Other languages













* excludes special events, restaurant patrons, virtual reality theater entries and temporary exhibition visitors

School visitors Total visitors in student groups

Total visitors in groups


349,885 student groups 42%

Greek school children

adult groups




Free and discounted entry total free tickets



Primary school children

41% of all tickets

total discounted tickets



Foreign school children




Secondary school children


Tertiary Students

8% of all tickets




Other childrens’ groups




Facebook total number of friends

Virtual visitors

412,942 Source countries for friends

Total number of visitors to Museum website



USA Main countries of website visitors

Cyprus United Kingdom 20,111_3%











France Cyprus 5,871_1%

Spain 6,383_1% N W


Other countries 64,930_10%










United Kingdom

Italy 10,123_2%

309,024 16,241 8,792 8,606 8,184 5,590 4,240 3,025 2,593 2,561 44,086


Australia 6,687_1%


Other countries






Changes and improvements to the permanent exhibition

New Friends since 1 June 2015

1,327 Age of Friends

13-17 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+

9,828 75,403 122,231 104,474 58,638 38,115 4,253







Unknown 1%

On site care provided by Museum doctor total number of visitors attended

total number of staff consultations

7,482 Data was collected and analyzed by Museum Front Desk staff.


The permanent collection

Digital data base

During the past year the Permanent Collection Department of the Museum oversaw changes to the layout of exhibits and improvements to exhibit labeling in ten of the first floor gallery showcases, as well as for four new bronze exhibits introduced to the permanent exhibition, namely the small bronze shield (EAM X 683), a bronze statue of Athena,( EAM X 5454), the bronze votive in the form of a pigeon (EAMX 669) and the bronze votive in the form of a bull (EAM X 6705).

The Permanent Collection Department continued the detailed work to establish the comprehensive digital database for the Museum’s collections, a large number of which are intended for public access on the Museum website. A total of 600 new text entries were completed and a review of 1,820 existing entries was undertaken with the necessary redrafting of texts and their enrichment with contemporary bibliography,

The Conservation Department completed the laser cleaning of the two last metopes to be removed from the Parthenon in the spring of 2012 (West 1 and 13). Significant conservation work was undertaken on fifteen marble exhibits with particularly notable work on each of the Kores Acr. 670 and Acr. 678., in anticipation of their respective exhibition in St. Petersburg and Japan. Conservators also supervised the visible improvements to two exhibits in showcase 6 of the Gallery of the Slopes. Conservation work was undertaken on 265 exhibits, of which 15 were marble, 152 were ceramics and 98 were metal. In addition, after specialized research a support mechanism was constructed for Kore Acr. 602, as part of preparations for her exhibition in Rome.

A total of 500 new sources were added to the digital data base’s own bibliography and the Database Glossary was finalized with 800 entries. For the purposes of the Database, the Department supervised the photographing of 500 sculptural pieces currently held in Museum storage and provided new catalogue numbers for 70 of these sculptures and architectural members. The scanning of over 4,200 original handwritten historic records relating to Museum exhibits and 31 archaeological diaries from the excavation of the southern slope of the Acropolis continued. These digital records will be used to enrich the entries on individual exhibits that will eventually be made available online.

The on-site archaeological excavation

Exhibit loans to international exhibitions

Following on the approval of the preliminary design for public access to the archaeological site and the exhibition of its portable findings by the Central Archaeological Council in 2014, the Permanent Collection Department prepared the final designs for excavation access and display.

This year the Acropolis Museum participated in a large number of temporary exhibitions organized by other institutions, with the loan of Museum exhibits.

The Department also oversaw the continued scanning and digitalization of handwritten excavation records and the completion of restoration and conservation works on the 1500 exhibits that will be presented in the excavation display. The organization of a large archive of digital photos, designs and printed photo archive material from the archaeological excavation continued. Conservation in the excavation focusing primarily on the building known as House Θ was completed on its ground surfaces and walls in cooperation with the Museum’s Conservation Department. The opening of the excavation remains pending the availability of necessary funds.

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture’s travelling exhibition ‘The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great’ continued to host seven Acropolis Museum exhibits from both the permanent exhibition and its storerooms The exhibits loaned until October 2016 are the Kore Acr. 673, the Head of an Athlete (Acr. 699), the pilaster capital (Acr. 3761), the Female Head (Acr. 1309 and Acr. 7243) and the Honorary Decrees EM 2811, EM 7180 and Acr. 6787. The Field Museum in Chicago hosts the exhibition until 10 April 2016 and from 1 June 2016 ‘The Greeks’ will be presented at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington DC. The Head of a Priest (Acr. 1353) was loaned to the Musei Capitolini in Rome for the exhibition ‘The Age of Anxiety: from Commodus to Diocletian’ to October 2015.

The Kore Acr. 602 was loaned for the purposes of the exhibition ‘The Power of Ruins’ at the National Roman Museum at Palazzo Altemps until the end of January 2016. Four original works and five cast copies were prepared for loan for the exhibition ‘A Journey to the Lands of Immortals’ that will be presented at the Nagasaki Prefectural Museum and the Kobe City Museum in Japan from June 2016 to March 2017. The authentic exhibits on loan include the archaic Kore Acr. 678, the relief with the Trireme (Acr.1339), the Portrait of Alexander the Great (Acr. 1331), and the bust of Aristotle (NMA 5053). The five cast copies of originals are the blocks of the west frieze of the Parthenon: VII, VIII, IX, X and XI. The loan of the Honorary Decree (EM 6899) to the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations was extended until May 2017.

Research The Museum’s Conservation Department continued to experiment with the use of specialized UV-IR photography techniques and with the XRF equipment in particular to identify traces of color on Museum exhibits. The Department also furthered its exploratory work on color on ancient surfaces in a joint project with Dr. Brigitte Bourgois from the National Centre of Research and Conservation in France and Giovanni Verre from the Courtauld Institute in London. The project examined the patinas and the surviving traces of color preserved on fragments of the Kore of Lyon (Acr. 269). This work was presented at the 7th Round Table on Polychromy in Ancient Sculpture and Architecture in Florence in November 2015.

Communicating the exhibits In-gallery Museum αrchaeologist-hosts Museum archaeologists-hosts remained available daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at their post responding to visitor questions in the Archaic Gallery.

The Saturday morning presentations continued including Nature at the Acropolis Museum with a separate talk on animals and plants as well as Music, dance and the Acropolis, all of which concluded in June 2015.

The ‘Reading Lounge’ program also continued each Saturday morning providing visitors with the opportunity to avail themselves of more detailed information on topics relating to the Museum’s collections.

Special events and themed gallery talks

Regular gallery talks

From June 2015 to early September 2015 archaeologist hosts presented the temporary exhibition Samothrace: the Mysteries of the Great Gods to visitors in English, Greek and French and by appointment thereafter until the close of the exhibition. From September 2015 hosts offered the presentation The Great Gods of Samothrace and Athena of the Acropolis’ each Friday in Greek and English.

Special events were supported at the Museum with gallery talks by Museum archaeologist hosts.

throughout the evening hours in the temporary exhibition to answer visitor questions. For the 28 October celebrations of 2015, archaeologist hosts received over 1400 children in organized activities within the Museum galleries focusing on the ‘Animal Kingdom’ at the Museum. Children and families Family backpacks and family trails

The program of regular weekday and weekend gallery talks ‘The Parthenon’, ‘Masterpieces in the Acropolis Museum’ and ‘Archaic Colors’ were offered in Greek, English and French language by Museum archaeologists-hosts to August 2015 when hosts transferred their attention to the temporary exhibition Samothrace: The mysteries of the Great Gods with themed gallery talks.

On the occasion of the 2015 European Heritage and World Tourism Days archaeologist – hosts were available

Families with young children continued to enjoy the free gallery activities made available at the Museum’s Front Desk. Family backpacks were loaned to 1,941 Greek speaking families and to 1,330 English speaking families in the past year. Brief activity sheets (family trails) for 5-8 year olds and 8-10 year olds were also popular, with over 1,400 being provided to individual families. The Acropolis Restoration Service Education Team (YSMA) developed an additional trail for the Acropolis Museum to enable families to explore the temporary exhibition Samothrace: mysteries of the Great Gods in a fun and relaxing way.

Festive season programs During the 2015 Christmas period weekends Museum archaeologists-hosts offered the activity program entitled Wishes at the Museum and the workshop Decorate the Peplos of Athens. The YSMA team offered children the workshop ‘The Sanctuaries and other Buildings from the Acropolis’ with the aid of thousands of white Lego bricks.

School visits and programs Pre-booked school visits form a substantive component of Museum activity and this year 146,978 students visited the Museum in groups. Of these students 8,763 followed the Museum’s educational programs and 885 watched 3 dimensional projections about the Acropolis. During the school year, Museum archaeologists-hosts provided educational programs to 14 school groups weekly, offering 12 different topics for classes of children from nursery school through to senior high school.. A total of 6,946 students participated in presentations or activities with an emphasis on student interaction with three new programs this year including ‘In the gardens with the plants of the Museum’ and ‘In the Garden with the animals of the Museum’ from January 2016 and between September and December 2015 a special program focusing on the Samothrace temporary exhibition.

Three educational programs accompanied by craft workshops were offered weekly by the Museum with the support of the YSMA Education Team. Over 1,817 students participated in one of the three programs ‘The Sculptures of the Parthenon’, Olympian mysteries: seeking the Gods of Olympus at the Acropolis Museum’ and ‘Make your own God’. Resource materials to assist teachers in preparing before, after and during their visit to the Museum was sent to schools with each booking made by Museum archaeologist hosts. Material is also available to schools freely on the Museum website (www. for a number of the educational programs.

Teacher training With the collaboration of the YSMA Education Team, the Museum provides training seminars to teachers on the organization of their own program for a class visit to the Museum. This year 595 teachers attended one of three programs: The Parthenon and its Sculptures, The Monuments of the Acropolis in the Acropolis Museum or The Gods of Olympus at the Acropolis Museum with all participants receiving teaching resources which include educational kits, printed material and class plans produced by the Team. YSMA digital applications are also made available on the Museum website. Digital Gallery Productions

In May 2016 the YSMA Team completed the production of a digital game for primary school children in cooperation with Samsung utilizing the Samsung Interactive Screen. Playing with the Gods of Olympus at the Acropolis Museum is the first digital interactive teaching resource to be developed by the Museum and forms an exciting new basis for school programming in the future.

Following the 3 dimensional scanning of exhibits by the Museum’s Conservation Department three digital videos were produced as interpretative materials for the exhibits Acr. 670, Acr. 678 and EAM.1377. Two videos were designed to accompany the exhibits on their loan to the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum and the Kobe City Museum in Japan.

Production of cast copies of Museum exhibits The Museum’s Conservation Department continued producing precise cast copies of Acropolis Museum exhibits for sale in the Museum Shops exploring new approaches to further refining the end product. In the past year the Department produced 3,800 individual cast copies in acrylic resin and high quality plaster for the Acropolis Museum Shops. Four new cast copies of exhibits were introduced during the year: for the first time the Department worked on bronze exhibits namely the Bronze Athena (EAM X 64590) and the Bronze Athlete (EAM X 6445), producing copies in cooperation with an external smelting workshop. Two new scaled to size blocks of the west frieze of the Parthenon were produced: Block IV and Block V. An additional fourteen new moulds were produced to ensure high quality reproductions and eight cast copies were hand painted in detail.

Communicating the museum Temporary exhibition Samothrace: the mysteries of the Great Gods

Temporary exhibition Dodona: the oracle of sounds

The Museum has initiated a series of temporary exhibitions presenting significant but often overlooked archaeological collections from various regions of Greece. By capitalizing on its own high visitor numbers it aims to increase the profile of the regional museums through these exhibitions, as destinations for visitors. The first of these exhibitions Samothrace: the mysteries of the Great Gods was inaugurated on 20 June 2015. Organized in association with the Ephorates of Rodopi and Evros and the expert on Samothracian antiquities, Dimitrios Matsas, the exhibition’s design was inspired by the Arsinoé rotunda and supported by audiovisual material presenting the natural environment of the island and the archaeological site. As a result of public interest, the exhibition was extended to 10 January 2016.

Following the success of the first temporary exhibition focusing on regional Greece, preparations for the second in the series of exhibitions has commenced. Extensive cooperation with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina and the National Archaeological Museum have commenced with plans for the exhibition of 250 exhibits that will convey the manner in which the ancients met the enduring human need to foresee the future and to interpret the past and the present.

The exhibition was accompanied by a series of activities including the international academic conference Current archaeological research findings in Samothrace, gallery talks by Museum archaeologist hosts and family and children’s activities within the exhibition.

Cooperation with the Hermitage Museum

Cooperation with Shanghai Museum

As part of the celebratory year 2016 Greece in Russia and Russia in Greece, the Acropolis Museum cooperated with the Hermitage Museum on two parallel exhibitions. On 11 March 2016 the Acropolis Museum inaugurated the small exhibition Scythian Heralds: from the Hermitage to the Acropolis Museum. The exquisite Scythian artifacts, two gold vessels and a necklace, were carefully mounted by Museum conservation staff in cooperation with Hermitage conservators. They form part of a group of 4th century BC finds, recovered from a Scythian burial place in Crimea. They are thought to be the skilled handiwork of Greek settlers with which the Scythian nomads had close trade ties.

In December 2015 the Shanghai Museum and the Acropolis Museum signed a Memorandum of Cooperation relating to the future exchange of experiences and practices in the fields of public education, technology and other areas of common interest. It is expected that activities arising from the agreement should commence in the coming year.

At the same time the Hermitage is hosting the exhibition of one of the most beautiful and well preserved Kores from the Acropolis Museum, Kore 670 in a display entitled ‘A Masterpiece from the Acropolis Museum at the Hermitage’ from 8 April to2 October 2016.

Music at the Museum Music continued to form a core part of the Museum’s public face in 2015 - 2016 continuing the tradition practiced since the Museum’s opening. As part of its sixth birthday celebrations on 20 June 2015 the Philharmonic Wind Orchestra of the Athens Municipality performed in the Museum’s entrance courtyard with a concert entitled A Scent of Old Athens and supporting the Museum’s birthday events until midnight. The 2015 August Full Moon evening event on 29 August 2015 was the ‘Tango Acropolis’ with dance and music performances by expert performers and

music by Mario Strofalis. On that day the Museum achieved its record attendance since opening, with over 32,000 visitors passing through its doors from its opening to its 12 midnight closure. Christmas celebrations included traditional Christmas songs from the Odeon School of Philippos Nakas and the Military Air Force Band. The European Night of Museums was celebrated on 27 May 2016 with the support of the well known performer Argiri Barkitzi and his String Theory Ensemble in an evening concert in the Museum’s front courtyard. The Museum Restaurant introduced music to its repertoire commencing with jazz music every Friday night from November 2015 to date, and with a harp player performing in the Museum restaurant Monday to Thursday in the afternoons.

Museum presentations locally and abroad In August 2015 the President of the Museum, Professor Dimitrios Pandermalis spoke on the Acropolis Museum exhibition Samothrace: The mysteries of the Great Gods at the 44th Festival of Olympus at Dion in northern Greece. The Musée des Beaux Arts de Lyon hosted Professor Pandermalis with his presentation on the architecture and collections of the Acropolis Museum in January 2016. In the same month he presented the Acropolis Museum’s new digital applications in Zurich as invited guest of the Greek Community of Zurich. In April 2016 he presented the Museum’s temporary exhibition Samothrace: the mysteries of the Great Gods in Basel, Switzerland at the invitation of the Friends of Greece in Basel. In May 2016 he spoke about the Acropolis and its Museum at the Greek German Conference on The Athenian Acropolis and the City in Konstanz, Germany.

Staff development

E Shop Development

Staff training and development continued in the past year with a major emphasis on skilling all Museum staff in the implementation of the Museum’s emergency evacuation plan. Temporary staff recruited in October 2014 and in April 2015 undertook induction training with the use of Museum-developed training videos and staff presentations.

The Museum’s Retail and Communication Departments embarked on the preparation of an Electronic Shop for the Acropolis Museum. Planning and research for the viability of the Museum’s operating the shop is underway with the goal of this new initiative being operational in 2017.

Administrative staff attended intensive training on Digital Public Contracting with the Institute of Training of the Hellenic National School of Public Administration. The Museum’s Conservation Department coordinator attended the International Training Program at the British Museum in August 2014.

We once again thank SAMSUNG Electronics Hellas for their generous and continuing support in the provision of electronic and digital equipment to the Acropolis Museum. Our thanks to LEGO Greece for their generous contribution of thousands of white LEGO bricks!

International recognition 2015 Traveler’s Choice TripAdvisor: The Acropolis Museum voted amongst the Top 25 Museums of the World by World Travelers.

Board members President Dimitrios Pandermalis Archaeologist, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology Aristotle University of Athens

Members Giorgos Kaminis Mayor of Athens

Kathy Paraschi Architect Engineer

Nikolaos Stambolidis Archaeologist, Professor of Archaeology

Eleni Banou Ephor, Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens of the Ministry of Culture

Panayiotis Tetsis Academician and Artist (until 5 March 2016) Konstantinos – Augustos Rizos Lawyer Nikolaos Damalitis Civil Engineer

Haralambos Bouras Emeritus Professor of Architecture President of the Acropolis Restoration Service

Τext Νiki Dollis Coordination Danae Zaoussis Photos Giorgos Vitsaropoulos 1. Outside Cover: Detail of portrait of Fulvia Plautilla (EAM 350) 2. Portrait of Fulvia Plautilla, wife of the Emperor Caracalla (EAM 350) 3. Kore. Around 490 BC (Acr. 684) 4. Portrait of a ruler, possibly Sauromates II a king of the Bosporus Kingdom. 2nd cent. AD (EAM 419) 5. Head of a God, possibly Aphrodite. 2nd cent. AD (EAM 244) 6. Entrance to the temporary exhibition ‘Samothrace. The Mysteries of the Great Gods’. 7. General view of the exhibition ‘Samothrace. The Mysteries of the Great Gods’. In the center is the Nike statue. 125 -100 BC. 8. Gold sheet in the shape of a lion, initially sewn onto a textile. 4th cent. BC. From the exhibition ‘Samothrace. The Mysteries of the Great Gods’. Annual report design G Design Studio June 2016 Copyright Acropolis Museum

Acropolis Museum 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou 117 42 Athens +30 210 9000900