“Decades of hunting for lost treasures; a hunt that translates into vast amounts of money and a huge model of a collection. In turn, this collection ended up as the nation’s property in the former Michaleas residence at the NW foot of the Sacred Rock… Paul Canellopoulos had thus realised his dream—and what could be a better place for it than under the Acropolis…”. Excerpt from the book THOUGHTS, Athens 1990.
The Paul & Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum was created to house the couple’s hitherto private collection of some 7,000 priceless objects and works of art that spanned the time from prehistory to the recent past and demonstrated the historical and cultural continuity of Greeks.
With the founding of the Museum the richest private collection of Greek art became a public good that attests to the continuum of Greek art. It was housed in the neoclassical, late 19th-century Michaleas residence which was provided by the Ministry of Culture. Warm and hospitable, it stands on the northern slope of the Acropolis, unfolding centuries-worth of Greek art history right under the imposing sacred rock.
After 28 year of the Museum’s operation and following the death of Paul Canellopoulos, Alexandra Canellopoulos financed its extension and modernisation for the better display of the exhibits and in tune with its key aim of helping to understand Greek art, its evolution and its variety depending on the time and place of its creation, and its continuity.
The Michaleas residence was built in 1894 to house the old Athenian family. In the 1960s it was expropriated and restored by the Sate. Six years after its completion, in July 1976, it opened to the public as the Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum, housing most of the couple’s private collection of Greek artworks dating from prehistoric times to the recent past.
After twenty years of operation as a Museum the building had deteriorated, mainly because of the underground streams that run down the northern slope of the Acropolis. In 1995 a refurbishment of the building was deemed necessary, designed by the Ministry of Culture. Once the project was completed in 1996, with funding by the Archaeological Resources Fund, the collection was optimally laid out in chronological order, thematic and geographical units so as to fit in with the buildings’ levels and character.
From its inception to 2004, the Museum’s exhibits were housed in the buildings’ three floors and the basement, but the space was not sufficient: another thousand items from the Canellopoulos collection that formed part of the donation contracts remained in the Museum’s storeroom or in their owners’ home. The only solution would be to extend the Museum facilities to bring the stored items on display and permit a better division of the different series of exhibits which were necessarily crowded.
Alexandra Canellopoulos proposed and financed the purchase of the adjacent plot of land to the east of the Museum, where a new wing was built on the designs of architect Paul Kalligas. When the new wing was completed, it housed the entire Canellopoulos collection so that it was displayed to the public as a whole. This venture and the Museum’s work has been supported by the Paul & Alexandra Canellopoulos Foundation.
The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum
105 55 Plaka
Tel. no.: + 30 210 3212313, 210 3318873
Fax: + 30 210 3244442
4 € Regular
2 € Concessions
The Museum is currently closed
The Museum provides access and facilities for people with mobility impairments (ramps, lifts).
Metro: the closest metro stations are: Acropolis, Monastiraki and Thission.
Bus: no. 230
Car: parking available on Hatzichristou St.; visitors can walk from there to the Museum via the Pikionis pedestrian zone.