The word “Museum” comes from the Ancient Greek word “Mouseion” which denotes a place or temple dedicated to the “Muses”, the patron divinities of the arts according to Greek Mythology, and hence “Mouseion” is a building (institute) for studying the arts.
There are a lot of popular museums around the world. However Athens city gathers some of the most important worldwide that deserve a visit at least once in a lifetime.
Due to its plenteous historical past Greece has more archaeological museums and ancient sites than any other country internationally. Further more in Attica prefecture there are enough museums with distinctive exhibits such as: Toys’ Museum, Car’s Museum, Computer’s museum, Jewelry’s museum, University’s Museum and so many others which will be presented as detailed below.
Museums in Greece have free entrance in specific dates: on March 6th (Memorial date for Melina Merkouris), on March 25th (National Holiday), on May 18th (International day of Museums), on October 28th (National Holiday), as well as the first Sunday of each month between November 1st and March 31st. New Acropolis Museum is excluded from free entrance during the first Sundays of the months.
Acropolis Museum(located at 15th Dionisiou Areopagitou Street, in Athens): It is a modern and unique musem with important exhibits, a marvellous building and it is included in the list of the 10 best museums of the world.
Every Friday between 18.00-19.00 visitors have the opportunity to participate in evening walks (last 1hour) through the Museum exhibition galleries, making unanticipated stops and various discussions, together with an Archaeologist-Host. Limited to 40 visitors per session. For registration, please refer to the Information Desk at the Museum entrance on the same day. First-in first-served. Price: The gallery talk is free of charge. Only the permanent-exhibition ticket is required.
National Archaelogical Museum(located at 44th Patision Street, in Athens): It is the largest archaeological museum in Greece. In the highlights of the museum belongs a golden mask found in the grave of king Agamemnon and the Antikythera, the oldest computer. The Epigrafic Museumis unique in Greece and the largest of its kind in the world. It safeguards 14.078, mostly Greek, inscriptions, which cover the period from early historical times to the Late Roman period, primarily in Greece. The museum is housed in the south wing ground floor of the National Archaeological Museum (at 1st Tositsa Street, in Athens).
The Museum has free entrance apart from the open dates mentioned above, additionally the last weekend of September every year (referred also as European Weekends for Cultural Ηeritage).
Benaki Museum (located at 1st Koubari Street and Vasilisis Sofia Street, in Athens): It is a multi cultural museum aiming to support research onto history, archaeology and the study of material culture, architecture, photography, visual and performing arts and literature. The Museum educate and engage its audiences through permanent, temporary and travelling exhibitions, courses, programmes, events, and publications and it consists of nine different open to public Museums:
Museum of Cycladic Art: Τhe Museum of Cycladic Art is dedicated to the study and promotion of ancient cultures of the Aegean and Cyprus, with special emphasis on Cycladic Art of the 3rd millennium BC. It was founded in 1986, to house the collection of Nicholas and Dolly Goulandris. Since then it has grown in size to accommodate new acquisitions, obtained either through direct purchases or through donations by important collectors and institutions. It is housed in two separate buildings:
From October to May, every weekend is an opportunity for children and their parents to engage with the Museum through interactive tours and make their own artworks taking part in art and other creative workshops.
Every Tuesday the Museum is closed. Every Wednesday between 12.00-13.00 and Thursday between 18.30-19.30 there are free guided tours (however registration is required). Kids under 18years old have free entrance to the museum.
The first one, located at 16th Herakleidon Street.
The second located at 37th Apostolou Pavlou Street.
Herakleidon Museum has evolved to an interactive center of science popularization and to a technological museum that focuses on antiquity, with emphasis on the achievements of the ancient Greeks.
Museum of Illusions Athens(located at 119th Ermou Street, the entrance is from 12th Astigos Street in Monastiraki area). The Museum of Illusions in Athens brings you a space suitable both for social and entertaining tours into the world of illusions which has delighted all generations. Enter the fascinating world of illusions which will trick your confidence in senses, but amaze you by doing it, the world that will confuse you completely, but also educate you…
Museum of the Ancient Agora (located at 24th Adrianou Street, Attalos Stoa in Athens). The exhibition in the Museum gallery holds archaeological finds coming from the systematic excavations of the American School of Classical Studies in the area and dated from the Neolithic to the Post-byzantine and Ottoman periods.
Frissiras Museum(located at 3&7th Moni Asteriou Street in Plaka area). Celebrating twenty years of operation, Frissiras Museum organises a series of anniversary exhibitions for 2020, starting retrospectively from the decade of 1980, with the exhibition “Nostalgia”. In the exhibition, the visitors will have the opportunity to see 56 of the first Greek artists of the collection, with works that were presented for the first time before the inauguration of the museum. The exhibition will last until April 19th 2020.
Numismatic Museum(located at 12th Eleftheriou Venizelou/Panepistimiou Street in Athens). It is one of the oldest state museums in Greece and it was instituted in 1834. The Museum is housed in one of the most beautiful 19th century’s mansions: Ilion Melathron, the mansion of archaeologist Erikos Sliman and his family, work of the architect Ernst Ziller.
Αrchaeological Museum of Keramikos (located at 148th Ermou Street in Athens). Most of the foundings and exhibits of the museum are related to the funerary ethics and culture and reflect the ancient Athenian attitudes towards the afterlife.
Athens War Museum (located at 2nd Rizari Street in Athens). Its purpose is the exhibition of weapon artifacts and the relevant research in the history of war. It covers the history of war in all ages. The museums’ collections include the collection of the Greek Army, with artifacts from other civilizations such as Ancient China and Ancient Japan.
National Historical Museum(located at 13th Stadiou Street, Kolokotronis Square, Old Parliament Building in Athens). The Museum narrates the history of Modern Greece: The period of Ottoman and Latin rule, the Greek War of Independence (1821), the liberation struggles, the creation of an independent state, the political, social and spiritual development of the Greeks up to the present day.
The contact and collaboration between the museum and schools all over Greece is enforced byportable educational material. Museum kits, cd, educational portfolios are led, free of charge, to teachers helping them to perform museum educational activities in the classroom.
As part of its commitment to playing an even more significant educational role, the Byzantine and Christian Museum began to design and implement educational programmes in 1989.
Athens City Museum, belongs to Vouros – Eutaxias Foundation (located at 5-7 Paparigopoulou Street, Klafthmonos Square in Athens). It is housed in two of the oldest buidlings (palaces) of Greek capital and preserves a lot ofcollections.
The National Gallery Andreas Soutsos Museum includes the collections of more than 20.000 paintings, sculptures, engravings and other art forms and is the treasury of Modern Greek artistic creation, covering a period from the post-Byzantine period until today. The Museum is housed in two separate buildings:
The National Glyptotheque (located at the Army Park, Goudi area in Athens, entrance from Panagiotis Kanelopoulos Street in Katechaki avenue).
The site of the National Gallery offers to children the opportunity to play games,participate in educational programmes and also access to Europeana: The European cultural heritage digital library, which provide access to about fifty million digitized collections, artworks, books, photographs, audiovisual archives, etc., provided by the cultural organizations of the European Union.
A specialised visual artslibrary is in operation at the National Gallery. The library was created and developed in parallel with the museum, mainly to support the museum’s research and exhibition agenda and to serve the scientific staff.
The Νew Municipal Art Gallery (located at Leonidiou and Milerou Street in Metaxourgeio area). Τhis building used to be a silk factory until 1875. Today it hosts temporary and permanent collections and several cultural events.
The Old Municipal Art Gallery (located at 51st Pireos Street, in Koumoundourou Square). Τhe building used to be a nursery until 1977. Today it hosts more than 2.900 different pieces of art (during decades 1930-1940) of famous Greek artists.
National Museum of Contemporary Art of Athens(located at Kalirois avenue and Ambrosiou Frantzi Street, Fix Factory in Athens). The Museum’s constantly growing collection is formed around a very important nucleus of works by Greek and international artists, such as Jannis Kounellis, Stephen Antonakos, Gary Hill, Vlassis Caniaris, Chryssa, Mona Hatoun, Emily Jacir, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Kim Sooja, Nikos Kessanlis, Shirin Neshat, Lucas Samaras, Costas Tsoclis, Bill Viola, Joseph Kosuth, Pedro Cabrita Reiss, Costas Varotsos, George Lappas, Oliver Ressler, Gulsun Karamustafa and others. The museum will have free entrance untin the end of March 2020.
Katakouzenos House Museum(located at 4th Amalias Street in Athens). The Katakouzenos house functioned since 1960 as a literary salon; its rooms have hosted many visitors of international fame, mainly artists but also writers and poets; it also contains a representative collection of works by the most important artists of the so-called Hellenic “1930s generation”, and by many international artists, too.
Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments “Foivos Anogianakis” (lcoated at 1-3 Diogenous Street, Lassanis Mansion in Plaka area). This museum has free entrance and it is closed on Mondays. You can find about 1200 Greek musical instruments dating from the 18th century to the present day, the fruit of half a century of research and study by the musicologist Foivos Anogianakis.
Industrial Gas Museum(located at 100th Pireos Street, Gazi area). The museum has a lot of educational programmes for children during weekends.
Foundation of the Hellenic World (located at 254th Pireos Street in Tavros) is a modern center which includes a Museum, a theatre hall, “Tholos” the new dome-shaped Virtual Reality “Theatre”. It is a building of exceptional architectural design and with unique technological infrastructure, which hosts the digital collections of the Foundation of the Hellenic World.
School Life and Education Museum (located at 23rd Tripodon Street in Plaka). In the collections of this museum a visitor can find school books from primary schools, high schools from countries all over the world as well as publications of school books between 17th to 20th century.
National Bank of Greece – Historical Archives(located at 146th 3rd Septemvriou Street in Athens, Diomidis Mansion). The National Bank of Greece Historical Archive is the guardian of the archives and collections of the National Bank of Greece, with the exception of the art collection. Its mission is to safeguard and highlight significant material the time span of which coincides practically with the establishment of the Modern Greek state. Most of the key moments in the economic history of the Greek nation, as well as important events in the political, cultural and social history of the country are reflected in the archival material of NBG.
Hellenic Children’s Museum (located at Rigilis Street and 17th-19th Vasileos Georgiou Street in Athens). Hellenic Children’s Museum exists to encourage every child to discover, understand, learn, enjoy and shape the world in which (s)he lives with a respect for individuality and an emphasis on team work.
The Children’s Museum is a place that offers multifaceted education and recreation and constitutes an important first step in a child’s familiarity with the concept “museum”.
Emotions Museum for children and teens (located at 6th Karatza Street in Athens). Visit a unique museum in the world and enjoy a tour dedicated to emotions, play and fairytales!
Museum of Greek Children’s Art (located at 9th Kodrou Street, extension of Voulis Street in Plaka area). The Museum of Greek Children’s Art is a pioneering Museum, one of the very few worldwide that exhibits exclusively drawings and three dimensional artworks created by children 5 to 14 years old.
Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (located at 4A Kariatides and 12th Kalisperi Street in Athens). Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum is the first museum devoted to the art of jewelry in Greece and one of the very few of its kind in the world. The permanent collection includes historic and contemporary jewelry and decorative arts. The major emphasis of the displays is given to the 50 collections designed and supervised by Ilias Lalaounis between 1957 and 2002. The displays are selected to give an overview of 4.500 jewelry and microsculptures that Lalaounis presented in exhibitions worldwide to promote his work. Inspired by the history of world art, the history of ancient Greek art and social aspects that complement the second half of the 20th century, contemporary technology, nature, and children’s designs, the artist left a substantial archive of designs, jewelry tools and macquettes of special commissions.
Maria Callas Greek Museum (located at 44th Mitropoleos Street in Athens). In the Museum the visitors will have a unique experience. One floor is dedicated to her voice and there you will hear “Traviata”, “Medea”, “Tosca” and “Norma” in an audio visual setting. In another floor her personal objects and memorabilia will be displayed, as well as photos from all periods of her life and singing career.
Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation(lcoated at 12th Theorias Street in Plaka). Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum hosts a rich collection of exhibits dating from the Neolithic-Final Neolithic period (6000 – 3000 BC) to the Late Roman times. Two Byzantine icons were the starting point for the largest private collection of Greek art—the P & A Canellopoulos Collection.
Jewish Museum of Greece (located at 39th Nikis Street in Athens). It housed objects salvaged from WW II, whether artefacts, documents and manuscripts of the 19th and 20th centuries, the jewellery of the Jews of Thrace that had been seized by the Bulgarians in 1943. The collection expanded with rare books and publications, textiles, jewellery, domestic and religious artifacts, thanks to the interest of several individuals.
Doll Museum at Merivi’s Workshop (located at 33rd Deligiorgi Street at Metaxourgeio area). Τhe children can learn the way to give life to a doll using paper, wood, fabric and ropes and discover magnificent stories through puppets from around the world.
Haridimos Shadow Puppet Museum (located at 66th Iraklidon Street, Melina Merkouris Cultural Center in Athens). It presents the old and new history of Karagiozis, as well as the development of the figures of Shadow Puppet theatre from 1850 to the present days. It hosts 900 genuine exhibits of three generations of artists and replicas of old figures. All the popular heroes of Greek shadow puppet theatre are shown to the visitors.
Dodecanese House Museum (located at 119th Dodonis Street at Sepolia). It operates as Folk-Artistic Museum, having as main target to become a place of knowledge and culture study center for the Dodecanese.
Centre of Falk Art and Tradition Angeliki Hatzimichali (located at 6th Angeliki Hatzimihali’s Street at Plaka area). The building, a monument of Modern Greek Architecture, is a work of the Macedonian Aristotelis Zachos. The interior decoration has been accomplished by popular artisans and it represents a creation of really high aesthetics.
Digital Museum Academy of Plato(located at Monastiriou and 1st Kreontos Street in Academy of Plato, Athens). In the first room of the Museum visitors will get to know Plato as a historical figure that was active in Athens in the 4th century BC, and at the same time they will get to know the archeological site of “Plato’s Academy” as the place where Plato was active. The second room will be dedicated to Plato’s work and methods. In this room the visitors will have the opportunity to “philosophize” and realize whether Plato’s thoughts concern him/her. In the third room they will see the ways that Plato’s form and work traveled through time, starting from the Academy’s immediate successors and arriving to the present day. How his thoughts affected philosophical thinking and inspired humanity.
Center of the Study of Modern Pottery (located at 4-6 Melidoni Street in Athens). The establishment of the Centre is evidence of Bettys Psaropoulou the great love for art and potters, but also an act of responsibility towards the vast archival material which she tried to make systematically and seriously, studying and publishing continuously. In recent years, moreover, she promoted the presentation, at the Center, of the works of contemporary artists, such as Hera Triandafyllidi, Eleutheria Drossaki, etc.
Marika Kotopouli Museum (located at 4th Alexander Panagouli Street, at Zografou area). It is a modern art museum, it hosts various interim art exhibitions as well as the permanent collection of Konstantinos Ioannides.
Philatelic and Postal Museum (located at 5th Stadiou Square and 2nd Fokianou Street in Athens). The work of this Museum is the gathering, preservation, maintenance, exhibition and promotion of the Philatelic treasures and postal items of Greece.
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has 15 educational museums open to public. Most of these Museums are housed in Panepistimioupoli area at Zografou and they have a lot of intresting exhibits.
All the Greek Museums organize a variety of events, offer educational programms, participate in festivals, present permanent or temporary exhibitions, some of them even organize musical concerts. You can be informed in detail, by visiting the official web pages of the Museums.
Would you like to discover the most amazing coasts of Greek islands? Just click below and dream on being there: