It is one of the first archaeological museums of the Greek state, which reflects the museum and architectural concepts of its time
It was inaugurated by S.A. the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, in the presence of the Minister of Culture and Sports Linas Mendoni, the re-exhibition of the masterpieces of the Archaeological Museum of Elefsina. It is one of the first archaeological museums of the Greek state, which reflects the museum and architectural concepts of its time. The re-exhibition seeks to modernize the museological approach and exhibition presentation, the transmission of the scientific discourse in an understandable way, the upgrading of the communicative dynamic and educational function of the exhibition with the use of audio-visual media, with the aim of rekindling domestic and international interest in the Elefsina and her story.
As the Minister of Culture and Sports said in her greeting Lina Mendoni, “Implementing the relative commitment of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Culture and Sports proceeded with the acquisition of the building complex of the Old Olive Mill, in order to house the New Archaeological Museum of Elefsina, worthy of the cultural reserve of the region, as well as the hosting of contemporary artistic expression activities and creation, including many of those of the Cultural Capital. A few days ago, the Council of Museums gave a positive opinion on the architectural program of the new museum, with an area of approximately 4,500 sq.m. and the preliminary actions have already been launched, so that the tender for the assignment of the necessary studies will be announced, by the summer. Until, however, the long-standing demand for the New Museum of the local community took shape, the co-competent Services of the Ministry proceeded with the necessary actions to upgrade the infrastructure, re-exhibit the permanent collection, enrich the audio-visual supervisory means, and overall upgrade of the experience of the visitors of the existing Archaeological Museum, which is organically connected to the Archaeological Site of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Koris, where the Great Mysteries, the most famous mystical cult of the ancient world, were celebrated for centuries. The building core of the Museum dates from the end of the 19th century, one of the oldest in Greece, with subsequent additions, modifications and repairs of various periods, the last of which took place, after the great earthquake of 1999. For the realization of this all of a necessary and important work, which today is attributed to the general public, many Services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports worked hard and methodically, with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Western Attica being the most prominent. However, the project would not have been possible to complete before the start of the Cultural Capital, if it were not for the valuable and decisive contribution of the Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulos Foundation, which donated €500,000. not only did we save the Ministry financially, but it acted as a catalyst in shortening the project’s implementation time.”
At the same time, in archaeological site of Elefsinaa complex project is being carried out, which includes the remodeling of the entrance, its connection with Heroes Square, the creation of a new route for the disabled, as well as the overall improvement of infrastructure and services to visitors, with the aim of delivering the space to the public – physically and conceptually – more accessible, comprehensible and easy to read and at the same time functionally connected to the surrounding urban fabric.
The Museum mainly exhibits finds from excavations in the area of the Sanctuary and secondarily burial material from the so-called Western Cemetery, the main necropolis of Eleusis, and from the southern necropolis. The findings date from Prehistoric to late Roman times. Most of the exhibits are works of plastic, in relief and in full relief, with a smaller number of clay objects. Among the architectural sculptures stand out the restored corner part of the superstructure of the Archaic Telestirium, one of the two chest-bearing Caryatids that supported the roof of the Small Propylaea, as well as the pedimented figure of the “Fleeing Maiden”. In the category of sculptures, the large statue of Demeter attributed to the workshop of the sculptor Agoracritos stands out, while from the remarkable series of reliefs, the votive relief of Lacrateides of impressive dimensions with a representation of Eleusinian deities deserves special mention.
The central idea of the new exhibition is organized in two thematic axes: “Elefsina: the city around the Sanctuary” and “The Great Mysteries”.
A. The first thematic axis is dedicated to a brief introduction to the city of Eleusis and the historical subjects that contributed to its genesis and development, i.e. its geographical and strategic position, the integration of the area into the territory of the city-state of Athens, the municipality of Eleusis and, later, the Roman administration.
B. The second, and longer, part of the exhibition program is dedicated to the Great Mysteries. Through the dialogical composition of original objects with commentaries of ancient authors, the first two sections illustrate and narrate the founding myth of the sacramental cult and the formality of initiation. The next four sections present the beginnings of the cult, the architectural-monumental remains and the transformations the sacred space underwent over time, the various vows dedicated by the faithful to the goddesses, and finally the dedications and parts of the architectural decoration of the Roman period.
The exhibition concludes in the “Ceremony”. It is a specially designed space that does not attempt to represent the interior of the building, where the unspoken final stage of the initiation took place, but to create an environment of multi-sensory museum experience that activates experiential and “synesthetic” ways of approaching and perceiving the subject of ancient Mysteries.
Among others, the event was attended by West Attica MPs of the ND Athanasios Bouras, Vice President of the Hellenic Parliament, Giorgos Kotsiras Deputy Minister of Justice, Liakos Evangelos, SYRIZA West Attica MP Giorgos Tsipras, YPPOA General Secretary for Culture Giorgos Didaskalou, the Deputy Regional Governor of West Attica Lefteris Kosmopoulos, the mayor of Elefsina Argyris Oikonomou and the President of the Paul and Alexandra Kanellopoulou Foundation Nellos Kanellopoulos.
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