Dimitrios Pandermalis, president of the Acropolis Museum in Greece, was announced dead at the age of 82 on Wednesday.
The Culture Ministry of Greece issued a statement, announcing his death. Lina Medoni (Culture Minister, Greece) wrote: “It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to a rare scientist, an inspiring teacher, a valuable colleague, a good friend. Pandermalis brought new, modern ideas to the management of archaeological sites, monuments, museums.” She further added: “He was a pioneer, directing the excavations at Dion, where he developed an innovative archaeological and natural park. He was the soul of the Museum, when it was still only on paper. He was there at every stage of its creation and until his last moments.” The cause of death was not mentioned in the statement.
Dimitrios Pandermalis had served as the president of the board of directors at the museum since 2009. One of the highlights of his tenure was the ambitious revamp worth $145 million of the Acropolis Museum, which was located on an Athenian archaeological site, into a modern museum. He was also a strong proponent of the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles which were exported to Britain and are currently held in the British Museum. Prior to working at the Acropolis, Pandermalis oversaw an archaeological expedition at Dion, near Mount Olympus, which began in 1973.
Various personalities and offices paid tribute to Pandermalis. US Embassy in Athens called him “a public figure who will be remembered for his contributions not just to Greek civilization but to global cultural heritage.” English journalist Yannis Andritsopoulos said: “His vision will continue to guide Greece and international campaigners in their efforts to reunite the Parthenon Marbles.” Nikos Stampolidis (Director, Acropolis Museum), who knew him since the 1970s, called Pandermalis’ impact ‘unique’.