Benaki and its branches

The year 2000 was a milestone for the Benaki Museum. The renovated building and the impressive presentation of the permanent collection introduced the Athenian public to the standards of the contemporary museum. The success story continued in the following years with the new Museum of Islamic Art, the new annex on Pireos Street and a series of legacies that enriched separate departments, such as the Photograph Archive. Their cafes and sales points have acquired devoted fans (even though the jewelry and other items on sale at the Pireos annex are often very pricey). The Benaki Museum sets the example for the rest of Greece. «Culture is not only art but also music, new publications, poetry, architecture and anything else that attracts the members of the community in which we live,» Benaki director Angelos Delivorrias said many years ago. And he has lived up to his word. Now, in this golden phase, there are two things the Benaki could pay attention to: The program is uneven, with a lot of small exhibitions of short duration. «Some of those could have been omitted. We promise that in the future, we will have fewer and they will last longer,» Delivorrias told Kathimerini. «The Benaki does not avidly pursue donations,» said the director, in response to complaints that the museum has many exhibitions in response to the influx of legacies, and he explained that the Benaki sometimes acts when state institutions are not in a position to.