The Acropolis Museum launched a series of temporary exhibitions in 2015 featuring important works of the ancient world from major sites located all around Greece. The aim is to present unusual subjects of interest to its daily visitors, as well as to pique their curiosity for actually visiting the unique places presented in the exhibitions.
The second exhibition in the series presents the Oracle of Dodona. The exhibition is intended to broaden the public’s knowledge of the oldest-known Greek oracle; to illuminate the way it operated, as well as its role and significance in the ancient Greek world; and to highlight the timeless human desire to foresee the future.
The exhibition's narrative on Dodona begins in the late Bronze Age. Clay and bronze objects reveal the identity of the first inhabitants, the original worship of Mother Earth and the establishment of the cult of Zeus, followed by a close-up look at Zeus and his dominant presence within the sanctuary. A central theme is the divine oak tree with its rustling leaves which answered people's anxious questions about the future. The priests also “read” the sounds of bronze cauldrons and the calls of pigeons. During excavations at Dodona, several thousand inquiries from visitors to the sanctuary, engraved on lead plaques, came to light. Some of these plaques are displayed in a separate section of the exhibition, illuminating people’s questions and concerns about commerce, debt, property, the courts, health, children’s care, impending marriages, dowries and being a widow. Dedications found in the sanctuary include portions of bronze statues, pieces of armour, swords, and other offerings from those who had benefited from the gods or were seeking their help. In addition, displays of characteristic coinage attest to the oracle’s political character and its relationship with King Pyrrhus of Epirus. Finally, two artefacts from the Acropolis Museum point to Dodona's connections to Athens.
The exhibition has been organized through a collaboration between the Acropolis Museum and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina. The exhibits are on loan from the Ioannina Museum and the National Archaeological Museum’s Karapanos Collection.