The Thebes Archaeological Museum is one of Greece's most important museums because of its rare and even unique collections. The exhibits come from excavations in Boiotia and cover the region's civilization from the Paleolithic to the Post-Byzantine periods.
The museum's ground-floor building with its large courtyard, is located at the north end of the Kadmeion hill. Its permanent collection is displayed in four large exhibition halls, the lobby and the courtyard. The museum also houses conservation laboratories, storage rooms and the offices of the Ninth Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, which oversees the museum. A characteristic constituent of the museum is the Medieval tower in the courtyard, a remainder of the Frankish fortification of Thebes, which is currently a storeroom. It is believed to be part of the castle that was built by Nicholas II de Saint-Omer, the Archon of Thebes in 1278. Tradition has it that the north gate of the city's ancient fortifications stood at this same spot.
The museum's current work includes the cataloguing and identification of old archaeological discoveries based on the inventory catalogues, the establishment of a database and of a photographic archive of the finds, their cleaning and conservation, and finally the preparations for the construction of a new museum. Several of the Ninth Ephorate's activities, such as public lectures, educational programs and other cultural expositions, take place on the museum's premises.
Author Vasilios Aravantinos, archaeologist