‘Pompeii: The Exhibition” in the desert

For only a few more weeks, objects that were once buried in ash and debris in the Roman city of Pompeii will be in display at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix.

I took my older kids to the “Pompeii: The Exhibition” a couple of weekends ago and it was pretty amazing. Here’s a description from the Arizona Science Center’s website:

On August 24, 79 A.D., the Roman city of Pompeii was frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying everything in its path for more than 1700 years. The same ash and debris from Vesuvius’ unpredicted eruption that destroyed the city also remarkably preserved it.

In this blockbuster exhibition, guests become time travelers, transported to the bustling commercial port and strategic military and trading center of Pompeii. Over 200 precious artifacts on loan from the unparalleled collection of the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, including wall-sized frescoes, mosaics, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, statues and ancient Roman coins, bring to life how Pompeii’s people lived, loved, work, worshiped and celebrated. In perhaps the most powerful portion of the exhibition, exquisite body casts of adults and children vividly communicate the emotions of the victims.

It was pretty mind-blowing to look at the objects on display and realize that they were once everyday objects used in people’s homes. They never imagined that their bowl would someday be on display so many years later in a desert thousands of miles away.




Theater masks

It was a bit eerie knowing that these objects belonged to people who died so tragically and that they were buried underneath debris for more than 1,700 years, but the exhibit told the story so well. I didn’t bring my youngest son (age 7) because of the body casts of the adults, children and dog. I knew that would be too much for him and I’m glad I followed my instincts. The older boys were really interested in it, though, reading many of the signs throughout the exhibit. We had recently finished listening to “Vacation Under the Volcano” audiobook of the “Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne, in which Annie and Jack visit the town of Pompeii on the day Mount Vesuvius erupts, so they were familiar with what happened.

It’s definitely worth a visit to learn about this moment in history.



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