Canberrans may not be able to travel internationally just yet, but tickets to ancient Greece are up for grabs.
The National Museum of Australia marked its reopening post-lockdown on Friday with its ticket release for the upcoming summer blockbuster, Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes.
The exhibition, which will run from December 17, explores the themes of competition through sports, politics, drama, music and warfare through more than 170 objects from the British Museum's peerless collection.
"The thing about ancient Greece is that we recognise ourselves in the lives of the ancients," museum director Mathew Trinca said.
"If you look at the great stories and the great narratives of ancient Greece, and what we know of that life 2000 years ago and beyond, they teach us about even confronting challenges and dealing with the sorts of circumstances that we've had today. And to have faith in the human qualities of resilience, persistence and thoughtfulness that gets us through.
"I think, in that way, it might just be the show for the times."
Ancient Greeks is the fourth in a series of British Museum exhibitions at the National Museum, the latest of which was 2018's Rome: City and Empire. This latest exhibition was originally set for last summer, however, coronavirus delayed it by a year.
Key objects in Ancient Greeks include black and red figured ceramics featuring finely drawn depictions of athletes, gods and citizens; marble and terracotta works; statues and reliefs; bronze figurines, weapons and armour; toys and games; fine gold jewellery; and coins. Together, the items will showcase how the ancient society influenced modern life.
"To be able to open the doors just before Christmas on this blockbuster will be important," Dr Trinca said.
"In so many ways, it'll be important as part of the whole of the east coast opening up and knowing there is a destination here and it's worth coming to Canberra to see this show and by extension, the other institutions.
"This is about recovering Canberra's place as the cultural capital of the nation."
While the opening of the new exhibition is still more than a month away, it didn't stop people gathering at the front of the museum on Friday, eager for it to open its doors for the first time since August.
To mark the occasion, Paul House, a local Ngambri (Kamberri) custodian, performed a smoking ceremony in the museum's forecourt and musicians from the popular Greek act, Kefi Band played in the foyer.
"It's exciting in the sense that we get back to doing what we should be doing, which is being open and serving people," Dr Trinca said.
"The community of the museum needs it because you realise just how much we've missed these sorts of things that are simple, but a part of who we are as a community - to have our great institutions open again."
- Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes shows from December 17 until May 1, 2022. Tickets are available from nma.gov.au.
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