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June 22, 2024

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Centennial Park to Host New Exhibit in July

Interactive exhibit exploring the role of replicas in recreating lost artifacts and artworks runs July 14 - Dec. 31, 2023.

The Parthenon and Centennial Park Conservancy have announced The Role of a Replica, a new hands-on, interactive exhibition exploring the ways historical and artistic replicas can illuminate lost history.   

The exhibition will be on display in the West Gallery of the Parthenon from July 14 through Dec. 31. A free gallery opening will take place on July 13 at the Parthenon from 6 – 8 p.m.   

Organized by the Parthenon’s curator Jennifer Richardson and Parthenon staff, the exhibit will feature hands-on displays and activities to let amateur archeologists explore replicas related to the ancient Parthenon and how ongoing work continues to uncover new information about colors, structures, and more.    

“The Nashville Parthenon was a grand endeavor to illustrate the city’s artistic, educational, and cultural ideals,” said Parthenon curator Jennifer Richardson. “When the building was reconstructed to be a permanent icon of the city, Nashville also committed to creating a full-scale replica of the ancient temple’s interior. This devotion to scholarship and accuracy has created an opportunity for people to experience the pinnacle of Greek architecture in a way that is no longer possible, even in Athens, Greece. This exhibit celebrates the replicas in our collection while creating a sense of discovery for visitors of all ages. Our team has been working with specialists to create interactive ways to explore how replicas make an original artwork more accessible, test theories, and convey ideas.”  

The Role of a Replica interactive displays:   

What Are Molds and Casts? 

This interactive game helps visitors understand the complex process of making molds and casts, like those used to make the Parthenon Marbles and Nashville Parthenon pediments.   

Activity: Visitors arrange the sequence of mold and cast making to reveal one of the actual molds used to create the Nashville Parthenon pediments.  

How Do You Recreate a Lost Artwork? 

This activity engages visitors in learning how the Nashville Parthenon Pediments were made using casts of the Parthenon Marbles, while also showing how designs for the pediments are still being revised.   

Activity: Visitors take puzzle pieces of the casts and place them within the pediment maquette designed in 1923. When puzzle pieces are put in the correct spot, a panel depicting the 2022 full-color design by Flyover Zone is revealed.  

How Is Science Revealing Ancient Details? 

With this activity, visitors learn about how technology can reveal colors that are invisible to the human eye and about methods used to study ancient art and architecture.   

Activity: A cast of the Parthenon Frieze is encased within a custom scanner. Visitors can scan it with raking light, UV light, or with a metal detector.  

These interactive displays teach museumgoers how molds and casts of pieces of ancient statuary can be used to reconstruct larger works and friezes; how modern imaging and light technology can reveal lost colors and pigments on ancient statuary; and how plaster casts, archival sketches and materials and other resources and technologies can help researchers reconstruct fragmented sculptures.  

In addition, the exhibit explores how artists and historians worked together to recreate the Parthenon’s central figure, the 42-foot statue of Athena Parthenos and includes segments from a documentary currently being made about the casts and models at the Nashville Parthenon. 

Replicas on display throughout the exhibition include the Nashville Parthenon, the statue of Athena Parthenos and a maquette of the statue, Athena Parthenos’ earflap with gold leaf, casts of Parthenon marbles, the Laborde head cast and a model crane.  

In conjunction with the exhibition, Panagiotis Kotsanas of the Kotsanas Museum of Ancient Greek Technology will conduct a virtual symposium on July 19 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Kotsanas will share information about replicas of ancient Greek technologies and how his museum in Greece uses replicas to help visitors learn about ancient technologies, innovations and more. 


The Parthenon is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the Parthenon is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 62 and over; and $8 for children 4 to 17. Children under 4 are admitted free. 

For more information on “The Role of a Replica,” please visit    

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.