2015 | Dec
This brief paper presents the museums of the wider region of Athens, focusing on recent visitor data. Particular reference is made to their thematic specificity, location, concentration function (e.g. Rizari Park Axis, Pireos Street) and the cooperation prospects among them. Special reference is made to the key new museum projects (new National Museum of Contemporary Art in Fix (former beer factory), the Goulandris Foundation Collection in Pagkrati, museums in Piraeus) and to the connection of museums with urban tourism.
Map 1: Location of museums in the Athens metropolitan area
The classification of museums in Athens Metropolitan Area by thematic specificity was based on the categorisation of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, with some additions. The research results are presented below.
Most museums in the Municipality of Athens are art-related (25.4%) or special interest museums (25.4%), which therefore account for 50.8% of the total number. History and folklore museums follow, by a small margin, representing 23.7% of the total. Then there are archaeological museums and collections (11.9%), museums with dual character (6.8%), diachronic museums (3.4%) and finally Byzantine museums and collections (1.7 %) and theatre museums (1.7). Of these museums, 8.5% are not in operation due to renovation, restoration or are moving to a new venue.
Outside the Municipality of Athens these percentages are quite different, with the exception of special interest museums, which seem to account for the same percentage as within the Municipality (25.5%),. It is remarkable that certain types of museums are more frequently located outside rather than inside the Municipality of Athens boundaries. They include archaeological museums and collections (21.3%), Byzantine and post-Byzantine museums and collections (2.1%) and theatre museums (2.1%). Art museums (19.2%) and history and folklore museums (6.4%) are proportionately fewer. Museums outside the Municipality of Athens (MoA) also include some categories that are not found in the MoA, such as natural history museums (14.9%), war museums (6.4%) and maritime museums (2.1%). Of the total number of museums outside the MoA, 6.4% are not in operation due to renovations, restorations or are moving to a new venue. It is rather typical that only a limited number of museums seem to follow modern trends in museology with the use of interactive media.
Regarding the location of museums, Athens does not have a “museum neighbourhood”. The closest equvalent is the area around Rizari park and more specifically in the building block between Vasilissis Sofias, Rizari, Vasileos Konstantinou and Rigillis street, as shown in Map 1. Moreover, a museum corridor has partially developed along Pireos Str.
In terms of collaborations and networking the efforts are limited. The various types of networking include the establishment of a single ticket, the publication of common brochures, the creation of a joint website and the joint organisation of exhibitions, events or festivals (Κόνσολα 2011). The Network of Museums and Cultural Institutions of Athens is the most comprehensive initiative, as it features a website and organises joint events. It is worth mentioning that this network includes, apart from cultural venues in general, 22 of the 59 museums of the Municipality of Athens. Exhibitions within the Athens Metro stations also add a unique dimension to the museum scene.
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