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The excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 has fascinated people since the first half of the 1700s, but with its popularity comes a challenge for museums to display artifacts in an original and meaningful way. An exhibition opened 18 November at Kansas City’s Union Station aiming to do just this.

Pompeii: The Exhibition features nearly 200 objects on loan from the Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, produced and designed by the curators and installers of Union Station. The show offers the expected frescoes, mosaics, and statues of emperors and Roman deities but also jewelry, gladiatorial equipment, and even charred bits of food and fabric. This exhibit is a new collection of items that have not traveled together before. Many of the items have never been exhibited in the United States, and some of them have never been outside of Italy. Pompeii: The Exhibition runs through spring 2017.

Reference: Matt Campbell. “Visitors travel back centuries to a moment frozen in time at Union Station exhibit”. The Kansas City Star. 17 November 2016.


House of the Ship; Bacchus on a throne, fresco wall painting, First Century. Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, Nr. 11-01-02/53.

Charred olives, 79. Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, 10-04-02/59.

Memento Mori, First Century. Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, Nr. 10-04-03/14.

Textile fragments, buttons, roll of twine – household objects from Pompeii, First Century. Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, Nr. 10-04-06/22.

Temple of Isis; Naumachia, fresco wall painting, First Century. Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli, Nr. 10-04-03/59.


Further Reading: Marisa Ranieri Panetta. Pompeii: The History, Art, and Life of the Buried City. Vercelli: White Star, 2013.

Liz Sonneborn. Pompeii: Unearthing Ancient Worlds. Minneapolis, MN : Twenty-First Century Books, 2008.

Posted by Jean Marie Carey