Artifacts from the past are regularly collected, valued and exhibited. Some are appreciated as high art. The rich and powerful, persons and countries alike, compete for artistic collections as symbols of their wealth and sophistication. But every artwork is founded on a social background which gives it a meaning. A work detached from its context, changes its meaning. To decontextualize a work means effectively to desemanticize it. Objects, including buildings, assume different meanings when treated as works of art.

The present paper will try to address the issue of context in a museum environment. The case of the architectural remains of the Parthenon as currently exhibited in both London and Athens will be employed and some guidelines on an alternative methodology of presentation will be explored.


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