Pompeii comes to life at OMSI

This ancient Italian town died during a Mt. Vesuvius eruption. Today, it lives again in a unique exhibit in Southeast …

The lighting and décor of this courtyard immerse visitors to POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION in every-day life of this once bustling Roman city.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The new featured exhibition at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) highlights Pompeii, an ancient Roman city near modern Naples, in Italy.

Having opened this summer, POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION has been giving visitors the opportunity to explore scenes from the city as it was in 79 A.D., experience the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a unique 4D theater, and see the aftermath – exquisitely preserved in lava for more than 1,700 years.

These marble figures, dated to the 1st century A.D., are “honorary statues” of male figures, one standing in the classic pose of a Roman orator.

Visitors Marilyn Womack and Dillon Daniel-Hoffman look at a terracotta “piggy bank”, typically used for holding personal savings.

The exhibition tour begins with a brief, dramatic introductory video to orient guests to the city of Pompeii and the nearby volcano. Visitors then find themselves the atrium of a Roman villa, from which they begin a stroll through a realistic reproduction of the ancient city.

On the walking tour, guests visit a market, a temple, theater, and baths, highlighted by about 200 authentic artifacts – including mosaics and frescoes, gladiator helmets, armor and weapons, a ship’s anchor, lamps, jugs, cups, plates, pots and pans and other household objects and furniture, jewelry, medical instruments, and tools.

In the courtyard, guests look at a First Century AD bronze, recovered from the House of the Citharist in Pompeii.

Realistic settings immerse visitors in historically accurate settings in Pompeii, before the volcano’s eruption.

After a realistic depiction of the volcano’s eruption, visitors walk through an exhibit of body casts of human forms – forever frozen in time in hardened volcanic ash.

“This exhibition advances the mission of OMSI, by offering our guests the opportunity to study and understand history through the scientific lens of archaeology and volcanology,” explained the organization’s President, Nancy Stueber, at the exhibit’s opening.

Body casts of some of the Pompeii residents, buried in volcanic ash, make a powerful conclusion to the exhibition.

“And, volcanoes are a part of our life here in the Pacific Northwest,” Stueber reflected, “so this exhibition allows our visitors to explore earth and volcano science, both regionally and worldwide.”

There is an additional fee, above the general museum admission, to tour POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION, on display through October 22.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, 97214.

>> On our FRONT PAGE: In a recreated atrium, guests admire this original bronze “Statue of Apollo Citharist”.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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