The Acropolis Museum was firstly conceived by Constantinos Karamanlis in September 1976, who also selected the site, upon which the Museum was finally built. With his penetrating vision, C. Karamanlis defined the need and established the means for a new Museum equipped with all technical facilities for the conservation of the invaluable Greek artifacts, where eventually the Parthenon sculptures will be reunited.
For these reasons, architectural competitions were conducted in 1976 and 1979, but without success. In 1989, Melina Mercouri, who as Minister of Culture inextricably identified her policies with the claim for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum, initiated an international architectural competition. The results of this competition were annulled following the discovery of a large urban settlement on the Makriyianni site dating from Archaic to Early Christian Athens. This discovery now needed to be integrated into the New Museum that was to be built on this site.
In the year 2000, the Organization for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum announced an invitation to a new tender, which was realized in accord with the Directives of the European Union. It is this Tender that has come to fruition with the awarding of the design tender to Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and their associates and the completion of construction in 2007.
Today, the new Acropolis Museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters, ten times more than that of the old museum on the Hill of the Acropolis. The new Museum offers all the amenities expected in an international museum of the 21st century. The official opening is on Saturday, June 20th.