A DAY IN POMPEII
Melbourne Museum 26 June - 25 October 2009
MELBOURNE Australia. - June
2009 - The Hon. Lynne Kosky, Minister for Arts and the Melbourne Museum
open the latest exhibition of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces, A Day In
Pompeii. The media and guests of the Museum were treated to a
media preview of not only the artifacts of Pompeii itself but also the story of this
The exhibition was officially
opened by Brett Dunlop (Manager, Melbourne Museum, The Hon. Lynne Kosky and Dr.
Patrick Greene (CEO, Museum Victoria) who gave the media a brief history of the
significance and importance of this exhibition, historically and also to the
city of Melbourne.
The Hon. Lynne Kosky mentioned Pliny the Younger in
her speech, one of the witnesses of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius who wrote
letters to historian Tacitus about this event. In relation to Melbourne, this
will be the only city in Australia that will hold this exhibition and it will
ultimately bring thousands of visitors, from Australia and aboard to the
Melbourne Museum to witness this spectacular display.
With over 250 objects on display
that include gold jewellery, gladiator armour and other archeological artifacts,
the exhibition goes beyond just the artifacts by helping the visitor understand
what life in Pompeii was like through interactive multimedia presentations and even a 3D
movie showcasing the last days of Pompeii. The exhibition hall has even been
designed to look like certain parts of Pompeii to truly immerse you into this
The speakers also thanked
Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei who assisted the Melbourne
Museum organise this epic exhibition. Three years in the making, this
exhibition will take viewers on a journey back in time as they experience this
remarkable culture that was in essence frozen in time.
The story of
Pompeii began on the 24th
of August 79 A.D., which would have this city forever captured in time. During
the middle of this day, around 1pm to be precise, Mount Vesuvius began its
deadly eruption and although many fled
the city, thousands also lost their life when the deadly pumice and thick
volcanic ash overwhelmed this city.
letters of Gauis Plinius Caecilius Secundus, he wrote ... a cloud of unusual
size and appearance... being like an umbrella pine, for it rose to a great
height on a sort of trunk and then split into branches ... We also saw
the sea sucked away... so that quantities of sea creatures were left stranded on
dry land. This man would ultimately become the link from the ancient world
to the modern through his eye witness account.
enough, Pompeii is probably the only archeological discovery that has a real
emotional tie to the visitor due to the almost statue-like remains of the
inhabitants. A handful of these body casts are on display which were made from
the original "body" tombs of this human tragedy.
Those who stayed behind in
Pompeii would have died a horrendous death as they inhaled the hot gas and ash.
You can even see the suffering on their faces and their bodies. After the pumice and ash, the rain would have
turned this ash into mud, hence creating human statues that are now on display
at the Melbourne Museum. It's almost as if Medusa herself looked at these people
with her deadly serpents.
clutched each other and shielded each other from the ash that rained from the
heavens. It's truly a moving experience seeing these body casts and a memory
that will be with you forever. Even after thousands of years, the link between
the visitor and those who perished are very strong.
The exhibition also shows a pig and a dog who would have died in
excruciating circumstances from their body shapes. Ironically, after two years,
the Romans could not find the city once it was buried and it was not until the
1700's that it was discovered again.
exhibition also explains to the visitor about volcanoes and interestingly
enough, the volcano responsible for the destruction of Pompeii has not erupted
since 1944. Highlights of the exhibition, include Gladiator armour, gold
jewellery, including a bracelet given to a slave girl from her master, a marble
bust of an unknown woman, cast of a guard dog, still wearing his bronze collar,
two young women clutched together and an amazing assortment of coins from this
event, Pompeii was an affluent city which was the home to many wealthy families.
Rome was a remarkable civilization which used toilets, had water systems,
make-up for women, illegal gambling and a rigid government under the auspice of
the "Gods". It was the apex of civilization at this time.
Breathtaking and remarkable describes this exhibition perfectly
A Day in
Pompeii is presented in association with the
Soprintendenza Speciale per I Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei (SANP) and
costs $20 for adults, $14 for concession holders, $12 for children and $54 for a