Culture Minister Hold Press Conference for new Acropolis Museum

A draft bill for the establishment of the new Acropolis Museum was unveiled on Thursday by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, who explained that the new museum would be a public sector legal institution with financial and administrative autonomy.

The new museum will operate under the strict control and supervision of the culture ministry but its legal form will allow it to maintain the necessary safety distance from both the private sector and the traditional public sector, so that it will be more efficient in handling the role it has been assigned, the minister said in a press conference.

Under the draft law, antiquities discovered both in earlier archaeological digs on and adjacent to the Athens Acropolis, as well as those unearthed more recently will be housed at the new museum, while there is also a provision for its future ability to present and display all the Parthenon sculptures and friezes.

Liapis said the new museum would probably be ready to open its doors to the public sometime this autumn, while he announced that the draft bill unveiled on Thursday would also be posted on the culture ministrys website for the purposes of public dialog, in order to achieve wider consensus on the running of the museum.

The draft legislation stipulates that the purpose of the museum will be the protection, study, display and promotion of monuments on a national and international level and it grants the real estate to be used by the museum to house its activities without any exchange. It also lists the possible sources of the museums revenues, describes the form of its administrative bodies, its board of directors and creates the post of general management supervisor.

It calls for a seven-member board with a three-year term that will be appointed by the minister of culture and stipulates that the museum will be represented by the board chairman for all legal matters, both in and out of court.

The museums manager will be chosen among applicants responding to a public proclamation for the position and can be from either the public sector or the free market.

Liapis described the legal framework for the museum as innovative and radical and noted that it might well be applied to other major museums in the country if proven successful in practice.

He also referred to problems currently faced by various bodies involved in the arts and culture, stressing that the main priority was to regulate their financial affairs. The minister pointed out that he had already discussed this issue in a meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.

Finally, the minister said that the government had decided to go ahead with a controversial decision to demolish two listed buildings that stood between the new Museum and the Acropolis, on Hatzichristou and Mitseon Streets, respectively, in order to enhance the outward appearance of the museum.