Decree of the Ionian Senate (1833) mandating the foundation of the Ionian Museum in the Mon Repos mansion in Corfu under the direction of sculptor Paul Prosalentis
(Gazzetta degli Stati Uniti delle Isole Ionie
)
Archaeological Museum of Corfu: a half century of history

Τhe Archaeological Museum of Corfu was founded half a century ago and comprises antiquities from the city of Corcyra as well as from all over the island. 

The concentration of important antiquities due to excavations, deliveries, donations and private collections made imperative, at a rather early stage, the creation of an archaeological museum in Corfu. Already in 1833, during the British rule of the Ionian Islands, the Ionian Senate decided upon the foundation of an 'Ionian Museum' in the mansion of Mon Repos, in order to gather all the antiquities owned by private individuals and to have them exhibited for the public. 

The attempt to found a museum was repeated in 1907, when with the funding of the 'Archaeological Society at Athens' a small museum was built next to the funerary monument of Menecrates. In 1911 the discovery of the temple of Artemis and of its monumental limestone pediment with the depiction of Gorgo necessitated the enlargement of the museum. In 1915, after requests of the Archaeological Service and the approval of the architectural plan, which would triple the space of the museum, the extension works started. Shortly after, however, they were interrupted due to the outbreak of World War I. 

In the 1930's antiquities were exhibited in galleries of the Palace of St. Michael and St.George. The most notable among them was the monumental Archaic pediment of Gorgo. In that period, Ioannis Papadimitriou, then Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Corfu, made a series of efforts so as a new, modern museum to be built that would be appropriate to host the massive pediment.

The outbreak of World War II caused yet another cancellation of the creation of a museum in Corfu. For security reasons the antiquities were transferred in the warehouses of Rolina (former Casino), where they remained for several years. 

In 1954, under the care of Ioannis Kallipolitis, then Director of the Ephorate, the antiquities, except from the pediment, were transferred from Rolina to the Palace, where they were exhibited anew.

Following long and pertinent efforts on behalf of the Ephorate, the construction works of the Archaelogical Museum of Corfu started in 1962, due mainly to the actions of Ioannis Papadimitriou and George Dontas. The building was designed by the architect Vassilis Douras and was located in the region of Garitsa, behind Rolina, on a plot, which had been donated for that purpose before the war by the Municipality of Corfu.

The building of the museum, an expression of modernism, is designed in plain, austere lines and is developed in two levels. Its construction was completed in 1965 and the inaugural ceremony took place in September 1967. Its galleries hosted the pediment of Gorgo, findings from old excavations, such as the so-called lion of Menecrates, the capital of Xembares, the funerary stele of Arniadas, as well as artifacts from the ancient cemetery and from Palaeopolis. 

In 1969, one more gallery was opened to the public, where finds from the recently concluded excavations at the Heraion (1962-1967) were displayed and in 1977 the Archaic pediment depicting a symposium scene was added to the museum's collection. 

In 1994 some restoration works and a partial re-exhibition took place. Furthermore, two new galleries were formed, one on the ground floor and one on the upper floor, by installing a roof over the atrium. 

After half a century of continuous function, in 2012 a radical renovation of the Archaeological Museum of Corfu was judged necessary. Therefore, from 2012 until 2016 an extensive project for the restoration of the building complex and  the re-exhibition of its collections based on a modern museological approach was launched. The project, entitled 'Modernization and Remodelling of the Exhibition of the Archaeological Museum of Corfu', was integrated in the Regional Operational Programme of Western Greece-the Peloponnese-Ionian Islands (Priority Axis 09 – Sustainable Development and Quality of Life of the Ionian Islands) and was co-funded by national and the National Strategic Reference Framework funds.

Today, the Archaeological Museum of Corfu is a modern museum, which enhances the archaeological heritage of Corfu and offers to the public, both adults and children, the chance to familiarize themselves with the island’s past from the Prehistoric to the Roman era.

Organization

The Archaeological Museum of Corfu is a public organization under the administrative direction of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Corfu, which is a territorial office of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports. 

         
Contact:
Vraila 1, Τ.Κ. 49100, Corfu, Greece
τ +30 26610 30680 f +30 26610 47951
efaker@culture.gr
Opening hours:
Everyday except Wednesday: 08:00 - 20:00
Tickets:
General admission: 6€, Reduced: 3€
Free admission for young people up to 18
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