More than 250 artifacts explore the life and death of the thriving city in A Day in Pompeii at Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – On August 24, 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted for the first time in 1,700 years. The force of the explosion was ten times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The people of Pompeii and all of their treasures were lost for 2,000 years–preserved by the same volcano that destroyed them.

Starting Friday, March 2, Cincinnati Museum Center guests can experience one of the greatest archaeological treasures ever unearthed in A Day in Pompeii. This blockbuster exhibition brings together more than 250 priceless artifacts to tell the story of several aspects of life in Pompeii as it was before time stopped. Thirteen wall-sized frescos, gold coins and jewelry, marble and bronze statuary offer dazzling examples of ancient Roman artistry. Guests will also experience the power of volcanoes from interactive displays and get up close and personal with body casts of Mount Vesuvius’ victims, eerily preserved in their final moments.

“I’m proud that Cincinnati Museum Center is able to bring this fascinating exhibition of world famous ancient archaeology to our region as the only stop in the Midwest,” says Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Whether you’re interested in history, art, architecture, archaeology, geology or have actually traveled to Pompeii, this exhibition is a must-see. It’s impossible not to feel a connection with these human beings who lived 2,000 years ago.”

Life in Pompeii
As you enter A Day in Pompeii, a computer-generated video flyover of the city’s buildings shows bathhouses, laundries and marketplaces as they might have looked in 79 A.D. Pompeii’s homes and gardens come to life in richly colored frescos, mosaic tiles, statues, furniture, ovens, everyday plates, bowls spoons, wine jugs and amphora.

Investigate Pompeii’s trading, fishing and agriculture through such artifacts as coins, fishhooks and bronze merchant scales. Nearby, a shrine for household deities, statues from Greek and Roman myths, cremation urns and objects from tombs evoke the religious and burial customs of Pompeii’s citizens. Necklaces, bracelets and dice reveal their love of jewelry and games of chance, while a bronze helmet and shield point to gladiators who fought each other in the city’s amphitheater.

Body Casts
A Day in Pompeii includes at least ten casts made of polyester resin from the original molds of citizens and animals in their final moments. Among the casts you can see a man reaching out to a woman as they lie together, a crouching man, a slave, a pair of young women and a dog. Archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli, who oversaw the excavation of the city from 1860 to 1875, made the amazing discovery that the bodies of people and animals smothered by ash disintegrated, leaving cavities in the hardened ash. Fiorelli and his team poured liquid plaster into these voids, creating incredibly detailed casts.

Pompeii was not the only city destroyed by eruption of Vesuvius. The exhibition also features a large cast of more than 30 skeletal remains found in Herculaneum, a town northwest of Pompeii. Most of its citizens evacuated before the blast, but those fleeing to the waterfront were killed by superheated volcanic debris, known as a pyroclastic surge. The soft tissue of their bodies burned away, leaving only skeletal remains, which became the first Roman remains available for scientific study.

Interactive Stations
A time-lapsed multimedia presentation re-creates the sights, sounds and then the silence of the doomed city’s 24 hours. Finally, at interactive stations, visitors explore the geology of volcanoes, the art of mosaics, the science of archaeology and ancient construction techniques. Relics of Roman water engineering in the form of pipes, valves and spouts remind visitors of the advances technological achievements of the first century.

Ticket Information
Individual tickets for A Day in Pompeii are $19.50 for adults, $17.50 for seniors (ages 60+) and $12.50 for children ages 3-12. Show your Kroger receipt and receive $3 off regular priced tickets to the exhibition! Tickets for Cincinnati Museum Center Members are $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. To complement the exhibition, we recommend picking up an audio tour for $4 ($3 for Members). Visit or call (513) 287-7021 for more information and to make your reservations.

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