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Museums & Heritage in a Globalized World - Coursework Example

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The sculptures were moved to the British Museum by Lord Elgin but now the Greek Government wants them repatriated to Athens; a demand that continues…
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Museums & Heritage in a Globalized World
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Parthenon/Elgin Marbles The Parthenon sculptures or Elgin marbles are made of the decorative parts of the temple erected on the Acropolis Athens. The sculptures were moved to the British Museum by Lord Elgin but now the Greek Government wants them repatriated to Athens; a demand that continues eliciting the controversy. The paper focuses on the efforts the Greek government is doing in its attempt to have the sculptures returned to Athens.
The decision by the Greek government to build the Acropolis museum, prior to the acquisition of the marbles is, in my view, quite strategic. It is a strong indication from Greece of the seriousness with which they need their Parthenon Sculptures. There are so many stakes in Greece building the new Acropolis Museum; being a state-of-the-art museum, Acropolis Museum is likely to boost Greece’s cultural tourism and the number of tourists who visiting the country. A reunion of the Parthenon sculptures in the Acropolis Museum will, in particular, lead to a surge in the tourist numbers in Athens (Elaza 45).
The special museum serves to counter some of the arguments raised by the British Museum in its quest to keep the Marbles in London. One of the arguments advanced by the British Museum against repatriating the sculptures is that the Greeks will not provide the greatest care required for the Parthenon sculptures (The British Museum, www.britishmuseum.org). Building the Acropolis Museum can counters this argument as follows effectively.
Firstly, the new museum is an outstanding with the best management and curatorial capability (The British Museum, www.britishmuseum.org). As such, it provides such an ideal place to showcase the Parthenon sculptures. Secondly, the location of the Acropolis Museum is such that the museum is close to the ancient monument. Since the architectural design of the new museum’s Parthenon galleries closely fits that of the Parthenon itself, preserving the marbles in this museum would return to the marbles some of their architectural significance. Keeping the marbles in London makes lose this important feature (Acropolis Museum girds for Battle over Marbles, youtube.com)
Another argument advanced by the British Museum is that the Parthenon sculptures belong “to the world.” Consequently, they should be left in London where “everyone” can get an opportunity to enjoy them. The construction of the state-of-the-art and world-class Acropolis Museum in Athens falsifies the claim that London is the best place for people to enjoy the Parthenon sculptures. It is also safe to argue that “enjoyment” of marbles will be greater in the Acropolis Museum than in the British Museum. This is because of among other features, its gloomy Duveen Galleries (Elaza, 76).
The British Museum also claims that the Marbles being in their custody provides an opportunity for them to be viewed in the context of other world cultures. Research on museum visitors has variously shown that often visitors find difficulties in making a connection between randomly acquired objects held and displayed in encyclopaedic museums. The Acropolis Museum will, therefore, be the most ideal place as it is located where the marbles originated (Elaza, 124)
In conclusion, it was a wise move for the Greek Government to build the new Acropolis Museum. It will certainly advance their course of seeking the return of the Parthenon sculptures to their original place, Athens.
Works Cited
“Acropolis Museum girds for Battle over Marbles” YouTube Video. Online video clip. Accessed 13th Oct 2014 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWy1UzF8JVI
Elaza Barkan, Amending Historical Injustices: The Restitution of Cultural Property. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2002. Print.
The British Museum, “The Parthenon Sculptures.” www.britishmuseum.org. Web 13th Oct, 2014. Read More
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