The finds discovered in the course of the excavations at Olympia are exhibited in the Olympia Archaeological Museum.
The two pediments from the Temple of Zeus are among the most magnificent examples of ancient Greek sculpture, and indeed from the period of its zenith.
The east pediment shows the preparation for the mythical chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, king of Homeric Pisa, while the west shows the beloved subject of the struggle between the Centaurs and Lapiths, with the superb figure of Apollo at the centre.
The metopes of the temple represent the Twelve Labours of Heracles, the offering of the Stymphalian birds to Athena, Atlas bearing the apples of the Hesperides to Heracles, and so on. Paionios’ statue of Nike descending from heaven, an ex-voto of the Messenians and Naupactians in 421 BC, is one of the most significant sculptures of Classical times.
Other outstanding exhibits in the Museum are the terracotta group of Zeus with Ganymede, the colossal head attributed to the cult statue of Hera and the famous statue of Hermes with the newborn Dionysos, an original work by Praxiteles, displayed in a hall to itself.
Among the dedications to Zeus by the city-states in gratitude for their victories are bronze tripod cauldrons, vessels, panoplies, helmets and shields. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia was renovated in view of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games
Since 2004, a new museum, the Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games operates in the renovated building of the first Archaeological Museum built in 1985. In this magnificent neo-classical building archaeological finds related to the Olympic Games, coming from Olympia or from other museums in Greece, are displayed. The goal of the exhibition is to present the birth and evolution through time of the sporting and Olympic ideal. A building adjacent to the museum contains historic documents from the first excavations in Olympia by the German Archaeological School, which are continuing to this day.
Modern Olympic Games Museum
The Modern Olympic Games Museum was founded in 1961 and the Hellenic Olympic Committee is responsible for its operation.
The museum was based on the collection of Georgios Papastefanou, who was the first to believe in the possibility of spreading the Olympic Idea and Education through a museum. For this purpose, he donated a building, which is located in the village of Olympia, along with his rich collection to the Hellenic Olympic Committee. The museum contains rare memorabilia from the Modern Olympic Games, photographs, medals, diplomas, cups, etc., and a valuable collection of rare stamps. Various Olympic Committees and individuals have donated items which admirably complement the Museum collection.