The Benaki Museum ranks among the major institutions that have enriched the material assets of the Greek state. It is also the oldest museum in Greece operating as a Foundation under Private Law. Through its extensive collections that cover several different cultural fields and its more general range of activities serving more than one social need, the Benaki Museum is perhaps the sole instance of a complex structure within the broader network of museum foundations in Greece.
The Benaki Museum is one of the oldest museum organisations in Greece. The Museum’s purpose is to preserve collective memories and cultural heritage; and its holdings include distinctive artefacts from every stage of Greek and world artistic production, dating from prehistoric times to the present day. The Museum’s collections include 47,388 artefacts; more than 160,000 books; more than 1,000 historical document archives; 217,515 photograph negatives and 16,499 original prints; as well as 32 Neohellenic Architecture archives.
The Benaki Museum occupies one of the few neoclassical buildings that continue to resist the aesthetic deterioration of postwar Athens. It is located on an exceptionally favourable location in the historic centre of the city, right opposite the lush greenery of the National Gardens and the garden of the Presidential Mansion, and in the same vicinity as related institutions such as the Museum of Cycladic Art and the Byzantine and Christian Museum.
The Conservation Department
The Conservation Department of the Benaki Museum has been in operation since 1974 and consists of seven different workshops:
- Icons, Oil Paintings and Wood Carvings
- Historical Archives
- Metal, Glass and Bone
The main task of this department is to use the technical means available to examine, conserve and restore works from the Museum’s collections and to prevent further damage by ensuring the appropriate environmental conditions for their exhibition and storage.
All the interventions made during conservation aim to present the works in a consistent manner, aesthetically acceptable and in accordance with the intentions of the artist, given the passage of time, the possible adverse conditions under which they were kept and other non-reversible factors.
One of the most significant fields of the Department’s activity is to examine works in terms of their structure, materials, and state of preservation with the help of special photographic x-ray methods, microscopic observation and physical and chemical analyses.
Source: Benaki Museum