The Ephesus Archaeological Museum, or Efes Museum in Turkish, is best visited prior to going to any of the local archaelogical sites. It is located at the start of the main highway to Ephesus and near the Temple of Artemis by the Tourism Office.
Many of the statues, stones, and artifacts from nearby Ephesus can be found here. The Greek Goddess Artemis, known for her many breasts, is an example of what has been recovered from nearby ruins. Artemis was the Goddess of wild animals and the hunt, and also for chastity and childbirth. She is referred to as Diana by the Romans.
The musuem is sectioned off into different themed areas such as the Hall of Fountains, The Hall of Gladiators and the Hall of Artemis. The museum is home to over 60,000 exhibits. The two statues of Artemis, mosaics, frescoes, columns and statues from around the various archaelogical sites are presented with both English and Turkish descriptions.
Much of what was found in the early excavations of the ruins around Selcuk, was taken to the British Museum or Vienna depending on who was responsible for excavations at the time. For example, in 1869, a British Railway Engineer by the name of John Turtle Wood is credited with having discovered the remains of the Temple of Artemis, laying underground some 20 feet or some 6 metres under silted sandy ground. Sponsored by the British Museum until 1874, he was able to locate and find some very important statues and archaeological pieces that are now housed in hall 82 in the British Museum in London.
Housed in the Neue Burg in Vienna, there is another collection. This time as a result of the efforts of Otto Benndorf, Professor of Classical Archeology at the University of Vienna who would go on to become the first director of the excavations at Ephesus. The Austrian Archaeological Institute has been present at Ephesus since 1895 to the present day. Many items found were taken to Vienna before a ban on exports came into effect in 1907.
The Ephesus Museum at Selcuk was established in 1983. It was closed for several years for renovation purposes before being re opened again in 2015. The building houses Jewellery, coins, statues, fresco pieces, daily tools and weapons from the Roman and Greek era. The artifacts come from Ephesus, The Temple of Artemis and other ancient archaeological sites in the region.
There is a gift shop and cafe area in the museum and the museum is open every day of the year from 8 am to 5 pm.