Burying treasure in WWII: A photo exhibit at the National Archaeological Museum

An exhibition of historical photographs at the National Archaeological Museum (NAM) will commemorate “Ochi Day”, when Greece turned down an Italian ultimatum for free passage on October 28, 1940 and thus entered World War II.

“In the shadow of the Great War: Recording museum memories before and after the German occupation” is a product of collaboration among the museum, the French Archaeological Institute and the National Cultural Asset Archive.

The photographs show exhibition halls in the NAM and in the Archaeological Museum at Delphi, the site the French School has excavated since the 19th century. The photographs record the process of stowing away all antiquities at both museums during World War II.

From the end of 1940 to April 1941, both museums collected, packed and buried their antiquities under the floors of the museums to prevent damage from bombing and possible looting. Other museums elsewhere in Greece followed the same procedure, saving several from irrevocable damage and destruction.

The laborious process of packing and, after the war, unpacking and restoring the objects has been recorded through the photographs comprising the exhibition.

On Thursday, October 26, when the exhibit opens, the museum’s archaeologists will provide 40-minute tours for three groups of 30 people each, at 11:00, 12:00, and 16:00. The tours are free but registration is required, on a first come-first served basis, at the Information Desk, thirty minutes before each tour. For more information, please call the museum (aptly located at October 28th Street, or Patission 44), at 213 214 4800.