NEW ACROPOLIS MUSEUM INAUGURATION LIVE ON MUSEUM'S PORTAL

New Acropolis Museum inauguration live on museum's portal

The New Acropolis Museum will be inaugurated on Saturday, June 20, by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias in an official ceremony that will be attended by heads of state and government and noted international figures, and will be broadcast on television throughout the world.

The inauguration ceremony will also be broadcast live on the internet, on the Museum's website at www.theacropolismuseum.gr, which opened its electronic gates to the public on Monday.

The website introduces the Museum to online visitors, enabling them to tour the display areas, and to read up on its history and operation.

The site is a virtual electronic map that takes the vistior on a tour of Greece's unique cultural heritage, unfolding the route from antiquity to the present that encompasses not only the exhibits and Greece's history, but also modern-day Hellenic culture.

The site will also apply an e-ticketing system, for the first time by a Greek museum, enabling future visitors anywhere in the world to book entry to the New Acropolis Museum at a specific date and time. This innovative application will enable the Museum to manage visiting hours while at the same time decongesting possible waiting lines at the entrance.

Entry to the Museum on its first three days of operation (Sunday, June 21 to Tuesday, June 23) will be available only to holders of e-tickets, while tickets will begin to be sold at the Museum beginning on Wednesday, June 24.

The inauguration ceremony will be accompanied by a week of events in the city of Athens, which will be suitably decorated and spruced up for the big day.

Unveiling the events programme, culture minister Antonis Samaras said that the unveiling of the exhibits will use "unexpected" methods, with new technologies used to showcase the antiquities acting as the "artistic event" of the evening.

The new Museum will officially open its doors for the first time at 18:00 on June 17, when accredited arts correspondents will be given a two-hour tour of the galleries, followed by another tour for the general directors of Greek mass media at 20:00.

On June 18, there will be a tour of the new museum for members and staff of the Museums Council and Central Archaeological Council. At 20:00 in the evening on the same day, the museum will be opened to academics, artists and people of the arts and letters, as well as members of Committees for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles around the world and the association of American Friends of the Acropolis Museum. The foreign press will then be allowed in on June 19.

The official inauguration on June 20 will take place in the presence of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, with many heads of state and government among the guests, in addition to ministers, the presidents of the IOC and UNESCO, former presidents of Greece, representatives of the Melina Mercouri Foundation, publishers and TV station owners.

From June 21-23, the new museum will be open to the public who have booked through the e-ticketing programme, but the number of visitors will be divided into three daily zones and not exceed 2,550 people.

The ministry has set the admission price for the museum at one euro throughout 2009, in view of the global crisis and in consideration for Greek taxpayers who funded its construction, while from 2010 the admission price will rise to 5 euros. From 2011 onwards, the price of the ticket will be adjusted, with special discounts for pensioners, children, students and the disabled.