Tomorrow, at long last, is the day. After a week of sneak-previews, the Acropolis Museum (having dropped the “new”, I believe) will open to the public–residents, tourists, everybody. The new web site opened with much fanfare. In typical Greek fashion, it was mostly unfinished as I write this. Whole pages are blank. It reminds me of the houses you see in the countryside in Greece–concrete block walls partly finished with rebar sticking out the top. But eventually it will get done. The most essential page–where you buy tickets–is finished. And this is a big deal, because this is the first museum in Athens to offer tickets on the Internet.
Since I cannot travel to Greece for the opening, I’ve been traveling around the web gathering news. (See links on next page)So much is being written in newspapers, magazines and on web sites about the Acropolis Museum, about Greece, about the British Museum, about the British Museum vs. the Acropolis Museum…… that I decided just to hand you some references and let you go off to read these good sources, instead of risking repetitive redundancy. If you read nothing else, please read the Vanity Fair article by Christopher Hitchens
- A tour of the permanent collection on display at the New Acropolis (Update July 2011 site removed.)
- Reuters reports that 200 fragments are returned To Greece by various European countries.
- A blog that discusses the ethical concerns of collection of antiquities
- Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens weighs in. [Note (Added November 2011)For some reason this link is very slow loading, but hang in there. It is worth it.]
Note: Hitchens wrote a book called The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification, and it is worth quoting a couple of paragraphs from his article in Vanity Fair, particularly since just yesterday we were talking about Euripedes and Sophocles, Medea and Antigone:
“When we think of Athens in the fifth century b.c., we think chiefly of the theater of Euripides and Sophocles and of philosophy and politics—specifically democratic politics, of the sort that saw Pericles repeatedly re-elected in spite of complaints that he was overspending. And it’s true that Antigone was first performed as the Parthenon was rising, and Medea not all that long after the temple was finished. From drama to philosophy: Socrates himself was also a stonemason and sculptor, and it seems quite possible that he too took part in raising the edifice.”
“If the Mona Lisa had been sawed in two during the Napoleonic Wars and the separated halves had been acquired by different museums in, say, St. Petersburg and Lisbon, would there not be a general wish to see what they might look like if re-united? If you think my analogy is overdrawn, consider this: the body of the goddess Iris is at present in London, while her head is in Athens. The front part of the torso of Poseidon is in London, and the rear part is in Athens. And so on. This is grotesque.”
Will you try to get to Athens to see the Acropolis Museum? Do you agree with Christopher Hitchens? Or do you sympathize with the British “Museum of the whole world” point of view?