I should apologize for the silence—my internet was down for an annoyingly long time last week, blacking out my Wednesday update and my ability to double-check dates and prices. Everything has been fixed however and now we are back on schedule!
And speaking of being on schedule Pacific Science Center is getting ready to bring their next exhibit in and it promises to be a fantastic one! This is its last stop in the U.S. for “Pompeii: The Exhibition” before it returns to Italy so you’ll definitely want to see it during its three-and-a-half month run.
Pompeii, near Naples, Italy is the site of one of the greatest natural disasters in recorded Human history. Sometime in 79AD the large volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the town of Pompeii, along with many near-by communities and villas in meters of hot ash. Many, if not all, of the citizens in the area, and in Pompeii in particular, were killed by the extreme heat and the ash and gas clouds that came from the eruption. Still what had been so thoroughly destroyed by the volcano was also preserved by it.
For almost 1,500 years the site was untouched until, quite by accident, some walls were revealed in 1599 while a crew was digging an underground channel for the Sarno river. Some excavation was done but ultimately the remains were covered up again. Again Pompeii remained undisturbed until 1748 when the Spanish military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre intentionally began to uncover it. From that point on regular excavations and study of Pompeii became regular and since the early eighteen hundreds it has been a tourist attraction, starting out as a stop on the Grand Tour. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This exhibit is one of the few times that pieces and artifacts have left Italy. Many of the artifacts that will be shown are details of everyday life in a Roman city including artwork, armor from guards and gladiators, religious figurines, currency, and personal belongings such as jewelry or hairpieces. There will also be ten full body casts made from the hollows in the hardened ash—the skeletons of the deceased usually decomposed but they left imprints in the ash. Plaster was poured into those shapes and archeologists were able to recreate the forms.
One area of the display will be marked with a ‘mature’ warning—it will be a representation of a brothel. This display will be in its own area and will be visibly blocked from the rest of the exhibit—adults may use their own discretion in going in themselves or allowing younger members of their family to enter. There will be a by-pass route available should you choose not to view it.
There will also be an immersive CGI section where guests can experience a recreation of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius—there will be some shaking of the ground and walls. Guests who are prone to motion sickness will wish to exercise some caution during this part of the experience.
Once you travel through the whole exhibit there will be an exhibit-specific gift shop at the exit. This one is separate from the main Science Center gift shop.
The exhibit will be in Seattle between February 7th and May 25th, 2015. Tickets are already on sale and may be purchased in advance on-line. Tickets will be dated for specific dates and times of entries so that the exhibit will not become over-crowded. Prices for entry vary with ages and between weekends and regular weekdays. The website will have all of the most current ticket prices. Purchasing on-line is an excellent idea—when the King Tut exhibit was on display at the Science Center in 2012 the lines were quite long for at-the-gate purchases. Advance purchasing allows you to skip these lines.
This show looks to be a fantastic one and an amazing chance to see these artifacts in the United States. After this exhibit leaves Seattle you will have to travel to Italy to see them. I think, personally, it would be best to see this exhibit, let it whet your appetite and then plan a trip to Italy visit the sites of the disaster in person. Whether this will be just a fun day trip in Seattle for you or the launching-off-point for a European adventure I hope you have a fantastic time!
Once the exhibit opens I will be posting a follow-up blog focusing more on the history behind Pompeii and the artifacts inside. This will be part of a new segment I will be working on, a once-a-week post focusing on the history behind exhibits and sites in Seattle!