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The Conservation in Action: the Bassae Frieze project will begin on Monday 7 December 2020 - and we will be posting updates here on this page every day.


7th December 2020

The Beginning of the project is finally here! We have been preparing for this at the museum for a long time. We have been delayed by the pandemic, and are so excited to finally get started! 

The scaffolding is up in Bay B, and the cantilever is in place. Remember the Bassae Frieze is hanging 3m high and above the Olympic Pediment. The experts from  Cliveden Conservation together with our in-house conservators have taken the first cast of the wall. 

Bassae Scaffolding

 The scaffolding is up and two casts have been taken off. 

8th December 2020

The casts keeping coming off the wall (slowly but surely). We have had to re-arrange bay B and C to make space for the scaffolding, our Delphi Charioteer is snug in a corner now. We also re-opened to visitors today and made a new one way system around the conservation work to keep everyone safe. Our conservation team has started cleaning the casts and we are slowly running out of space in Bay C. 

conservator cleaning cast

One of our conservators cleans liquid damage from the top of a cast. 

The progress of casts coming down by the end of the day. You can see how many of them have been taken down based on the metal pins that were holding them up. We are almost up to the middle of the Olympia Pediment. Next in line is a very fragile cast and we are being very careful! 

Empty wall of the museum with scaffolding on the rightA cast coming down from the wall. Empty wall in Bay C in background. 

9th December

More Casts are coming down! The Nike of Paionios is temporarily being surrounded by scaffolding. We are taking down the casts on the far end of Bay C while we are closed to visitors. By 11 am tomorrow the scaffolding will be near the Apollo again, restoring our one way system. We've also had to take one of our favourite lion heads off from the wall in Bay D to allow for this.  

scaffolding in bay D. Nike of Paionios to the left.

Scaffolding in Bay D, next to the Nike of Paionios. 


Bassae Cast with Amazons, Men and a HorsePart of the Bassae Frieze showing an Amazon fighting with men. You might notice that it end in a slant and was misaligned with its companion when originally hung. 

10th December 2020

All of the casts of Bassae from Bay C are now down! Our walls are bare! The team from Cliveden has also started putting new shelves up. The Bassae Frieze will rest on these once it is properly conserved. 

Apollo from Olympian Zeus temple, bare walls behind him Apollo from the temple of Zeus at Olympia. The Bassae Frieze runs the length of this entire wall. Shelves have been installed! 

15th December 2020

We are back in the Museum after a long weekend break for some essential building maintenance. It has been an exciting day for all of us to get back to the frieze. The Conservators have started re-touching (painting) some of the casts, and others are waiting to be cleaned. Two of the casts have been cleaned and restored and have gone back up on their new shelves! 

Chariot of the Bassae Frieze, legs of nike, head of Amazon

Part of the Bassae Frieze back up on the wall on its new shelves and mounts. You could see our conservators working on this cast in our Friday video! 

17th December

Cleaning and re-touching of the casts continues on the ground. Five of the 18 casts have been cleaned and repaired already! They have also been re-hung on their new shelves. We will be wrapping up the project tomorrow for the winter break. 

Bassae Frieze men and centaurs fighting

Centaurs and men fighting on the Bassae Frieze. Aren't the new shelves pretty? 

Every cast tells two stories.
One ancient. One modern.

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