The Acropolis Museum, Athens: A Modern Take on Ancient History

Sunset at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.
Sunset at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.

Located less than 1,000 feet from Greece’s famed Parthenon, the Acropolis Museum in Athens offers a panoramic view of the very archaeological sites from which its exhibits came. Designed by modern architects Bernard Tschumi and Michael Photiadis, the 150,000-square-foot property holds more than 3,000 artifacts from the ancient Athenian citadel known as the Acropolis.

Designed to protect ongoing excavations while showcasing and preserving priceless ancient treasures, the building consists of three distinct sections. The lowest level consists of columns that create a “floating” structure around the archaeological excavation site. It artfully rises and rotates to form the middle level of the museum containing galleries from the Archaic period to the Roman Empire. The uppermost level of the museum is a rectangular court that depicts the marble sculptures just as they would have been arranged centuries ago in the Parthenon.

Archaeological excavation at the Acropolis Museum property.
The Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis © Acropolis Museum.

Modern glass technology infuses the galleries with natural light while protecting exhibits from heat and sun damage. With towering steel facades and glistening marble floors, the museum is an artfully intentional combination of old and new.

The architects designed the flow of movement through the museum to align with the time periods the artifacts represent. Ten thousand visitors walk the three-dimensional visitor loop each day, stepping back in time to experience the most significant archaeological finds in Greek history.

The Caryatids from the Erechtheion on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece.
The Caryatids from the Erechtheion on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece. Photo by Nikos Daniilidis © Acropolis Museum.

Visitors can choose from a wide variety of activities and programs to explore the history of the Acropolis at their own pace. Museum conservators are often at work inside the galleries, offering an insider glimpse of how artifacts are preserved. With an onsite restaurant, cafe and gift shop, the Acropolis Museum is an excellent place to spend the day learning about Greek art, culture, and history.

Aerial view during the Acropolis Museum construction period.
Aerial view during the Acropolis Museum construction period. Photo © Acropolis Museum.