The importance of museum displays

The longest gallery in the British Museum, the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery,is 115 metres long and showcases the collection of early Buddhist art considered one of the greatest treasures of the museum.

With the refurbishment and redisplay of the Amaravati sculptures in this gallery, these sculptures can now be better seen. Jane Portal, the keeper of the department of Asia commented in the Guardian: "They are just as important as the [Parthenon] marbles but people don't know about them so much." 

Indeed Jane we don't disagree that the Amaravati sculpture are important, however the British Museum's Parthenon Gallery is of the same dimensions as the Parthenon building - Sir Joseph Duveen insisted on that as a condition of his 'gift' of £1m. But the British Museums less than 50 per cent of the frieze is displayed so as to give the false impression that it's complete. The frieze is moreover displayed on the inner walls of an interior room, not - as on the original - on the outside.

The Acropolis Museum in Athens on the other hand, displays their also less than 50 per cent of the marbles the right way round - and in sight of the original building. We know where we'd prefer to view them and for all the right reasons - their importance as a peerless work of art warrants a display that is the right way round, with views to the Parthenon and that Attica light.

acropolis museum collage

Football fans in Nicosia support the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

On Tuesday 26 September in Nicosia, Cyprus, APOEL faced Tottenham Hotspur in a UEFA Champion League group stage match when Spur's Harry Heane scored a hat trick winning the game.

Although local team APOEL lost the match on Tuesday, they did win the hearts of campaigners all over the globe when they unfurled two banners which when read together stated:

"History cannot be stolen. Bring the Marbles back!"


William G. Stewart, a generous and candid supporter

Our movement has always been fortunate in recruiting politicians, academics and journalists to the cause. But as a supporter in the world of broadcasting, William G. Stewart was a name out on his own. With a long and successful career as director / producer of popular sitcoms behind him, he found greatest fame as quizmaster in ‘The Price is Right’ and ‘Fifteen to One’ on Channel 4. Trusting in his channel’s independence from the establishment, in 2001 he delivered a personal talk on the ‘Elgin Marbles’, advocating their return to Athens and following this up with an opinion poll that revealed 92% support for his case. This result was widely attributed to the persuasiveness of his talk, but it shook the establishment all the same, to the point where Channel 4 was censured by the regulator for partiality.  The poll was just the first of a series of much more widespread soundings of opinion by MORI and other agencies, which without exception have shown a majority of British opinion in favour of return, if never by the same devastating margin.

William started a second undertaking that has also made a big contribution to our cause. It was his idea to take a head-count of a whole day’s visitors to the Marbles in the Duveen Gallery, and compare that at the end of the day with the Museum’s own count of all visitors.   A comparison of the two figures showed a proportion of less than a quarter visiting the Gallery, and later repetitions have confirmed this.   Once again, the outcome came as a surprise. Besides undermining the British Museum’s boasts of the numbers who came see the Marbles in London, it also revealed a wider truth:  that Classical Greek art no longer exercised a magnetic appeal to a British public, after the end of the Neo-Classical movement, at least when seen far away from its natural context  -  certainly nothing to compare with the genuine passion that it can arouse, to this day, among Greeks and many more nationalities at all levels of society.

In retirement, William still sometimes re-emerged in the press as a champion of our cause. This generous, candid man died on 21st September, 2017 and we shall always miss him.  

Professor Anthony Snodgrass

Honorary President for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

2 museums

The Parthenon Gallery in the superlative Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, with views to the Acropolis and the Parthenon which still stands. The other Parthenon Gallery in the British Museum in London, United Kingdom is home to the fragmented sculptures removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin. It is over 200 years since this peerless work of art was forcibly divided and it is eigth years since the opening of the Acropolis Museum. The Greek nation has requested the return of these Marbles since it's independence in the nineteen century and continues to do so. The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles was started by British architect James Cubitt in 1983 and continues to campaign for the reunification. The Committee's Honorary President is Professor Anthony Snodgrass, who served as Chairman from 2002 to 2010 and the current Chair is Dame Janet Suzman and Vice-Chair is Professor Paul Cartledge.

Letter in the Times 21 September 2017

Sir, The Greek government has made clear that it is determined to break the deadlock caused by the refusal of the British government to return the Parthenon Sculptures to their country of origin. To this end, the reunification of the sculptures is kept high on Greece's agenda. Contrary to your assertion that Greece is "threatening to sue" Britain for the return of the sculptures (report, Sep 18), Greece is at present using diplomatic channels and alternative means of dispute resolution — but without having excluded any possible use of judicial means in the future.
Paul Cartledge
A G Leventis professor of Greek culture emeritus, University of Cambridge
Vice-Chair for the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles

This letter was printed in the Times on 21 September, the entire version of the original letter sent to the Editor of the Times can be read here:

Dear Sir

Your correspondent Anthee Carassava ('Greece threatens legal action ...', September 18, 2017) seems to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick, perhaps due to the original message's becoming lost in translation. At any rate, I can assure you that she has very seriously and culpably misrepresented the current and longstanding position of the Greek Government regarding the proper location of the Parthenon Marbles, as most recently expressed by its distinguished Culture & Sports Minister, Ms LydiaKoniordou:

Greece is determined to break the deadlock caused by the continuous refusalby the British Government to return the Parthenon Sculptures to their country of origin, and, to this end, the issue of the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is constantly kept high on its agenda. Greece is at this stage pursuing the strategy of using both diplomatic channels and alternative means of dispute resolution, without however having excluded for the future any possible use of judicial means.

Grossly to misrepresent that as 'Greece is threatening to sue Britain for
the return of the Elgin Marbles' does neither the very complex and
sensitive issue, nor your paper, any favours whatsoever.

Yours sincerely

Paul Cartledge

A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture emeritus
University of Cambridge

A.G. Leventis Senior Research Fellow

Vice-Chairman, British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon


Acropolis Museum in Trip Advisor Awards, 8th in top 10 Museums of the World

The superlative Acropolis Museum moved up a place to rank 8th in Trip Advisors 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards for Museums. Winners of TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice awards are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality of reviews as well as ratings for museums worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

tripadvisor travelers-choice-2017

Top 10 Museums in the World
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art — New York City, New York
2. The National WWII Museum — New Orleans, Louisiana
3. Musée d'Orsay — Paris, France
4. Art Institute of Chicago — Chicago, Illinois
5. State Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace — St Petersburg, Russia
6. The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum — New York City, New York
7. National Museum of Anthropology — Mexico City, Mexico
8. Acropolis Museum — Athens, Greece
9. Prado National Museum — Madrid, Spain
10. V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum – London, UK

The Acropolis Museum is third on the list of Europe's 25 best museums for 2017 and also topped the list of Greece's 10 best museums.

Top 10 Museums — Greece
1. Acropolis Museum, Athens
2. Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Heraklion
3. National Archaeological Museum, Athens
4. Museum of the Royal Tombs of Aigai (Vergina), Vergina
5. Delphi Archaeological Museum, Delphi
6. Pavlos Vrellis Museum of Greek History, Ioannina
7. Archaeological Museum at Ancient Olympia, Olympia
8. Achilleion Museum, Gastouri, Corfu
9. Cyclades Olive Museum, Pitrofos, Andros
10. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki

Two awards for two dedicated women

22 June 2017, the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO, held an event entitled "Protection of Cultural Goods from illegal trafficking and armed conflicts through the conventions of UNESCO: An assessment of the Greek presence and contribution". The event was held in the Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum and opened by the Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis and the Minister of Culture and Sport.
Speeches were made by the President of the Board of the Acropolis Museum, Mr Dimitrios Pantermalis, President of the Greek National Committee for UNESCO, Mrs. Catherine Tzitzikosta and the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin. After these speeches, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Mr Francesco Bandarin and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Ioannis Amanatidis awarded two ladies. The first Dr. Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1970 Convention on the prevention and Preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou also for her significant contribution during her Chairpersonship to the 1954 Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict and the second Protocol of 1999.

Maria and Artemis

From left to right:Dr Maria Vlazaki, General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sport withDeputy Director-General of UNESCO for culture, Francesco Bandarin and Dr. Artemis Papathanassiou, Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece and Chairperson 2nd Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention, member of the Hellenic Committee for the Reunification of the Parrthenon Sculptures.

Eight years and over eleven million visitors

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the superlative Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece will celebrate 8 years since it was first opened to the public in 2009.

Over eleven million Greek and international visitors have visited the Acropolis Museum since 20 June 2009.

Members, including the founder of the British Committee Eleni Cubitt, were present for the opening in June 2009 and have since travelled back to visit again and again.


"The Acropolis Museum and its exhibits are special. We wish to congratulate Professor Pandermalis and the entire team at the museum for all of their passionate dedication to providing a memorable experience for over 11 million visitors to date.

11 million visitors and the 8th anniversary

All the members of the BCRPM have enjoyed memorable personal visits over these 8 years, as well as attending conferences to speak on the cause that is at the heart of our campaigning - the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles" commented Vice-Chair Professor Paul Cartledge.  

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the museum will hold a special video presentation showing the Acropolis caves and the findings unearthed on the Acropolis.

At midday there will be a press conference and at 9 pm the Orchestra of the Centreof Arts & Culture of Dion will perform renowned Greek songs in the courtyard of the Museum's entrance. Soloists Vassilis Lekkas, Alexandra Gravas, Babis Velissarios and Filio Servou will participate, and the concert will be conducted by Nikos Patris.

The museum's exhibition areas and the restaurant will be open from early in the morning until midnight. Admission will be free from 8 pm onwards.