Celebrating culture: International Museum Day

It has become a regular rendezvous for lovers of culture around the globe. International Museum Day, born of an initiative by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1977, is celebrated annually around May 18. Each year the global event takes on a different theme and this year?s motto is ?Museums in a Changing World: New Challanges, New Inspirations.?

Heralding International Museum Day is the European Night of Museums, which takes place in the form of all-day or all-night events. Originally introduced by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in 2005, the European Night of Museums is patronized by ICOM and UNESCO and will be celebrated on Saturday, May 19.

Greek cultural institutions have put together a series of special events in view of both celebrations and are inviting the public for free viewings of their permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as special performances and concerts.

ICOM?s Greek branch is paying tribute to a highly active local institution this year, the Goulandris Museum of Natural History — Gaia Center (100 Othonos, tel 210.801.5870, in the northern suburb of Kifissia. The key celebratory event will take place on Friday, May 18, starting at 7 p.m. On the same day the museum will be putting together tours of its botanic labs, children?s theater and workshops, among other events, some of which will also take place on Sunday, May 20.

At the Acropolis Museum (15 Dionysiou Areopagitou, tel 210.900.0900,, celebrations begin on Friday, May 18, with the museum staying open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the restaurant operating until midnight. Also on the day?s agenda is pianist Marios Strofalis, who will be playing Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis songs as of 11 a.m., while his Strofalis Quartet will perform at 7 p.m. On May 19, the museum will stay open from 8 a.m. to midnight (admission will be free from 8 p.m. to midnight), while the City of Athens Symphony Orchestra will be interpreting works by Mozart and Haydn at 9.30 p.m.

On May 18, the Benaki Museum?s main branch in Kolonaki will offer free admission to visitors to its permanent collections (1 Koumbari

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