The Regional Archaeological Museum “Antonio Salinas” is the most ancient public museum of the Island.
The highlight of the exhibition is the hall with the famous metopes of the Temples of Selinunte described as one of the most important sculptural structure of the Western ancient Greek art, that was enriched by the contextual exhibition of new items and a significant selection of architectural terracotta, which still preserve the original polychromy. They were discovered in 1823 by the English architects Angell and Harris, who tried to transfer them to the United Kingdom.
The Bourbon Kings donated to the Museum various finds of great value from Pompeii and Torre del Greco, while excavation works and acquirements by the Commissione di Antichità and Belle Arti enriched the collections.
Among the most important acquirements is the so-called “Pietra di Palermo” (The Palermo Stone) with hieroglyphic inscriptions showing the annals of the first five dynasties from Egypt (3238-2990 B.C), which have a crucial role in the reconstruction of the history of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.
After the Unification of Italy, also the Savoys donated various pieces to the Museum including the magnificent bronze ram from Syracuse.
The items from excavation works and acquirements from all over Sicily established the importance and the central role of the Museum, especially under the management of Antonio Salinas (1873-1914).
From 2006 to July 2016 the monumental complex of the seventeenth century of the Filippini Fathers, where today the Museum is located, was exposed to a complete restoration work. The ground floor – renovated in shape and contents- has the most important collections enriched by the recent opening of the third court “the new agora of Salinas”, with the exhibition of the monumental pediment of the Temple C in Selinunte and the extraordinary sculptural complex of the lion head eaves of the Himer Temple.