Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

One of our favorite attractions in New York City is Discovery Times Square.  They do a great job of putting together exhibits that are interesting and informative.  Last week, we went to see Pompeii the Exhibit - Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius.

This was a very timely one for us.  We're preparing to study the Ancient Roman Empire during our upcoming school year.  We've begun to do some reading and research about the era, and this was a fantastic primer as well.

We began by viewing a short film which discussed the Roman Empire, the geography of Pompeii and it's proximity to Vesuvius.

When the film was over, the first displays were devoted to life during this time.  There were beautifully restored statues, frescos, mosaics, and pieces of the estates.  They were magnificent.  The polytheist beliefs of the people, social structure, and the reasons for certain statues or decorations are available on plaques to read, or by audio guide.

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

The boys were surprised to see that even then, there was graffiti - and some bits of it were on display, too!   We also saw this Gladiator's helmet, and a pair of shin guards.  It's amazing anyone could walk in such heavy armor!

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

It was funny to see that among the dice, there was a set that were "loaded".  I guess certain things are as old as time.

After the culture and history areas, we were led into another film.  Here we looked on as a time lapse took place in front of our eyes.  We got an idea of what it must have looked like to be there when the volcano erupted.  At first it was just tremors, but over a course of about two minutes we were taken straight through to the burying ash.  It was done with great effects, and made a powerful impact.  It also set the right mood for the next area of the exhibit.

We walked out into a dimly lit area where the skeletons and body casts were arranged.  Because of the way the the bodies were entombed in the ash, they left behind perfectly shaped holes where their bodies had been.  These cavities were used to create molds that captured the final moments of the poor citizens consumed by the volcano.  Some were crouched, and covering their faces, other reaching toward each other.  There are some animals, too.   Considering the nature of this room, I thought it was shown tastefully and respectfully.

Our boys are familiar with Pompeii and the tragedy that occurred, but it's easy to shepherd children straight through this room if needed.  Here, as well as throughout the displays, there are separate audio discussions for adults and children.

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

After that sobering display, we moved on, and were shown a film reel of a more recent Mount Vesuvius eruption that took place in the 1940's.  This was followed by arrays of the relics of every day life.  We enjoyed the descriptions of the day to day living of these people.

There was a very nice miniature of what a typical home would have looked like.  We saw dishes and pots, and utensils.  There were braziers used for heat, and some ovens.  This is a loaf of bread!

The Pompeii Exhibit at Discovery Times Square

There were also some tables with chairs, pottery, money jewelry, medical instruments, other furniture items, and a description of the baths.  A few racy items are included, but discretely.

In this area, the boys were impressed by a 12 foot tall chart which showed how many layers covered Pompeii.  They were, (of course) also drawn to a touch screen computer display of sights that would have been seen by the people of Ancient Pompeii.

Altogether, there are over 250 artifacts included in this exhibit.  It is fascinating, and heartbreaking at the same time.   We enjoyed it, and we will have many tangible items to refer back to as we study during the upcoming school year.

Discovery Times Square is located on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. For tickets and information, visit or call (866)-987-9962. You can become a fan of Discovery Times Square on Facebook, or Follow them with Twitter to keep up with promotions and new exhibits.

Admission Prices:   ADULTS, $26.00; SENIORS,  $23.50; CHILDREN $19.50; Audio Guide $7.00

The Show will run through September 5th.
*Group rates are available for parties of 15 or more.  Call  (800)840-1157 for more information.


*In order to provide  an informed blogged review, I was given admission to the exhibit.   I was not paid to write this post  or compensated in any other way.