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Athens Archeology Museum

June 16, 2007

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A long haired, lively taxi driver gabbed away as he drove us to Athens’ renown Archeology Museum and laughed about how people who live in Athens never or rarely see these great sites. He said he was only there once about sixteen years ago, as he dropped us off at the back of the building, even though he keeps meaning to return.

There were lots of police or army personal with loaded guns and hand grenades attached to their lapels. I am not sure if this is the every day pattern or if there was something going on when we were there, but it was a little unsettling. One sees so much more guns and soldiers these days in the world and it still seems odd seeing them at places like this or the Eiffel tower, Prado or airports.

Once we reached the front of the building, there was a very different feel and no obvious guards around, but voluminous, whimsical sculptures instead, that caught me by surprise. We particularly liked the man, woman and child riding a bike statue as it seemed like a sweet visual metaphor for  us,“SoulTravelers3”.
I am not sure what it has to do with archeology, but it is always good to see engaging art.

Once you step inside, you soon know why this is the best museum in the country with finds from all the major excavation sites and chronologically goes from 7000 BC.to 500 A.D. We loved the pottery, but the big draws are the luscious gold relics from Mycenae and the awesome Minoan Frescoes from Santorini which enchanted us too. They had some great presentations by video on fancy televisions that helped one get a “field” experience and detailed information on various aspects.

Mozart loved finding Gods and Goddesses from her Greek myths (I am so glad now that we brought along D’Aulaires’ “Book of Greek Myths” despite its large size along with our other Greek Myth sources) and particularly liked the “Boxing Boys” Minoan mural from the 5th millennium B.C. that she later saw replicas and postcards of repeatedly in Santorini (where they are proud to have the most important prehistoric site found any where in the eastern Mediterranean).

I think the video presentation helped that attraction as well as her new Greek archeology book and the fact that the boys in the fresco are around her age. We would later go to Akrotiri, Santorini where it was found, which is sometimes called the prehistoric Pompeii of the Aegean (which thrills her as she is fascinated by Pompeii and hopes we can do her upcoming seventh birthday there this fall).

We really enjoyed this museum, but of course even a kid interested in Greeks and archeology is still a kid, so we managed to have some light moments too. Mozart loves Zeus and got to compare her fist with his gigantic one and wanted a picture of that for the record. In a far corner, DaVinci played a mini game of hide and seek which I also captured from a nearby bench, as every moment in a museum doesn’t have to be serious, as long as you do not disturb anyone else. Little light hearted moments help to make the learning moments more fun. The attendants there were very good at answering her questions and endless Greeks always want to know her name and are so friendly with kids. She makes out like a bandit with free gifts from people all over Europe and it continues in Greece.

Seeing a museum with a young child is just different than with adults and I think she was the only child there on the day we went. Still we find it so rewarding to share these rich experiences with our child and are continually stunned at how these “field trips” to some of the worlds gems like this, impact her understanding and perceptions and boosts and complements her extensive reading with first hand experience. Often in her play she creates museums or gives tours like a tour guide which cracks me up!

She is a catalyst for all of us to learn more, so we find museums and traveling more enhanced when we do it as a family. I am so glad that my father instilled the museum bug into us as kids and I hope this pattern continues for generations, long after I am gone. We are certainly glad that we did this rewarding one together as a good time was had by all!

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