Museum ready but opening is delayed by formalities

The island of Kalymnos is in an area rich in archaeological treasures. But its new archaeological museum does not yet have electricity, although the building is new, nor has the Culture Ministry taken possession of the museum officially, although the building is ready. As a result, archaeologists have not been able to get to work on the finds destined to form the permanent display. At a recent meeting of the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) on the museological studies for the museum, most aspects were approved, but some features will have to be re-examined in cooperation with the Culture Ministry. Following a great deal of debate and a number of complaints, the 386-square-meter museum situated at Aghia Triada in Pothia, next to the Vouvalis mansion, is to house the sculptures discovered two years ago and the Kore of Kalymnos that has been retrieved from the sea. Antiquities from prehistoric to post-Byzantine times are to be exhibited for the first time, as well as finds from the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. The first collection, on the ground floor, contains prehistoric antiquities from three caves, with pride of place given to a Cycladic statuette now in the National Archaeological Museum. The second collection covers the historic period with finds from the Temple of Apollo. The building design for the museum made special provision for the colossal statue of the god of healing, Asclepius, to be placed in a section of the ground floor, whose ceiling reaches right up to the roof. Visitors can now admire the restored statue (whose trunk was found in the 1960s and the head just two years ago), which stands next to one of the goddess of health, Hygeia. The famous copper Kore of Kalymnos will be placed on the opposite wall. Incidentally, it reaped the highest finder’s reward ever paid for an antiquity. Also on exhibit will be inscriptions from the Temple of Apollo, and other finds such as coins from various excavations. The Council heard some objections to the way the statues of athletes, deities and children were being exhibited, as well as portraits from the Roman period. Those in charge at the local archaeological ephorate explained that the space was too restricted for such a large number of exhibits. The island is rich in antiquities and is therefore blighted by the same curse that lies on other Greek museums – first they are built, and then found to be too small for all the wonderful exhibits available. On the first floor, there will be other exhibits such as pots from shipwrecks, funeral gifts from graves, and some antiquities found during excavations.

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