Thursday, December 27, 2012

Back to the Acropolis Museum, December 2012

So last week I went back to the museum... and it’s time for something positive, this being the season of goodwill and all.

I remember my three major complaints being the photography ban, the lack of printed and explanatory information and the lack of children oriented materials.
Image of sign outside New Acropolis Museum showing that photography is forbidden
No photography sign, outside the New Acropolis Museum
Image of the New Acropolis Museum entrance, with pottery left and right, the Archaic room ahead and the Caryatids above and a very prominent no photography sign
Main entrance hall of the New Acropolis Museum, with prominent no photography reminder
Well, having gone on Saturday 15 December (a normal, pay to enter day) with the girls, we had the museum essentially to ourselves – up in the Parthenon gallery we walked round the whole thing twice, only seeing other people towards the end of our tour. An experience both satisfying and slightly worrying at the same time.
My girls alone in the Hellenistic/Roman hall of the New Acropolis Museum - In the distance Praxiteles' huge head of Artemis
All the Hellenistic and Roman era to ourselves...
The major changes I noticed from the summer of 2009:

1. The Kritios Boy seems to have been raised on his pedestal to a much higher level. Can’t imagine why, but, there you have it. Blonde Boy also seems to have a new perch...

Archaic room, from behind the Blonde Boy and the Kritios Boy
Kritios boy, on a new perch (2012) - compare with the image below (2009)

Image of the back of the Blonde Boy's head and the back of the Kritios boy

2. There is now material for kids to read or have read to them, in big letters, bright colours and targeted at them. So – yes, the museum is currently better for kids than it was three years ago. Can it be better yet? I think so, but this is a good first step.

3. (I took about 50 photos and hardly anyone minded, shhh…)

4. In 2009, I had a very specific complaint about the lack of “how” – well, in the archaic sculpture room, there is now a very nice display of marble-working tools along with an example of how each one left its mark on the marble. There was a similar display about the various minerals used to colour the marble, where they came from and how they were prepared to be applied.
A display of tools of the marble worker in the new acropolis museum
Tools of marbleworking and the marks they make

So – the museum is getting better. I am more enthusiastic, and I can’t wait to go back. Oh, and as a coda: Ariadne, at 45 months old told me the next day that the sixth Caryatid should come back from London to be with her sisters. It’s not right that she’s far away from them. I had explained that the pedestal is empty because one of the girls has gone to London to another museum, in a totally non-judgmental and neutral way.


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