ATHENS – An official inquiry into an act of vandalism at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens on July 28 has been initiated, the Ministry of Culture said on Thursday, adding that there was “no irreparable damage to exhibits.”
According to the ministry’s statement, “two people walking through the halls of permanent and rotating exhibits” sprayed an oil-based liquid on exhbition objects, glass cases, walls and the floor, an act that was not noticed at the time.
The “malicious act,” the ministry said, “did not cause any irreparable damage to ancient objects, which have almost all been cleaned by now,” while an official police inquiry is under way to identify the culprits following the museum and ministry’s initiative.
Museum Director Ekaterini Delaporta told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) that “conservators undertook all analyses immediately and took all necessary measures” to restore “to a great degree the damage.” However, she added, “the damage to the building itself needs to be rectified because the walls and floors of the museum’s interior are sprayed with oil.”
She said that a Coptic cross dating to the 6th century AD sustained damage that may not be entirely reversible, as it is made of wood and it absorbed the oil. The investigation now rests with the ministry and the police, “who have taken over the case,” she told ANA.