The museums

Can the cultural map of Piraeus change? When there’s a plan and the money to back it, everything is possible. And how much needs to change in the city is best illustrated by the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, the city’s first museum, which was built in 1966, opened in 1981, renovated in the late 1990s, was then shut down and has only been in operation again for the past three years. Its tale is a bitter one, and even though it has a wonderful collection, visitors rarely make their way through its hard-to-find doors. According to the Piraeus revamp plan, the museum will be moved into the facilities of the Piraeus Port Authority, which comprise a 5,500-square meter building, while the old premises of the museum will be used for temporary exhibitions. Another change that will fill a gap in Greece’s museum map is the creation of two nautical museums, one pertaining to modern times and the other to antiquity. Display subjects will include the country’s great shipping families. These museums will be housed in the emblematic grain silo that dominates the port’s landscape. Exhibits on ancient Greek shipping will include remnants of famous wrecks and the other 10,000 artifacts that are currently in storage. In response to the scandal which arose last year when it emerged that the historical Averoff Warship Museum at the Flisvos Marina in Palaio Faliro had been used to host a lavish wedding reception, the old floating docks in Piraeus will be used to moor state-owned craft that are now out of action and will instead be used to house restaurants and a music hall dedicated to rebetiko music, which flourished in Piraeus in the early and mid-1900s with the arrival of refugees from Asia Minor. Another plus for Greece as a whole is a plan to build an immigration museum that will chronicle not just the waves of emigres leaving Greece, but also those of refugees and migrants coming to this country.