A Day in Pompeii exhibit - PDF by cometjunkie57


									                                      A Day in Pompeii exhibit
                               at the Science Museum of Minnesota
                                      June 27, 2007 – January 6, 2008

                                        Frequently Asked Questions
What is it about Pompeii that captures our imagination?
Pompeii is legendary because it was so suddenly and completely destroyed by the historic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius
in 79 A.D. The entire city was lost until archaeologists began to uncover it in the 18th century. Then, it became
clear that the volcanic material that had buried it thousands of years before had preserved the city – the buildings,
the artwork, and the people – in an extraordinary way, thus giving us a rare glimpse at an ancient Roman townscape
that was untouched by renovation and modernization. Few other ancient sites were frozen in time as Pompeii was.

Pompeii is also tragically famous because archaeologists were able to create body casts of the victims of the city’s
destruction. It is one of few archaeological sites that reveals such detailed images of real people who were captured
in their last moments.

What’s the history of Mt. Vesuvius?
We know very little about Mt. Vesuvius’ activity prior to the eruption that buried Pompeii. For the people who
lived in this resort city of the Roman Empire, it was an idyllic mountain covered in vineyards. When the region was
shaken by two strong earthquakes in 62 and 64 A.D., few people associated the seismic events with the nearby
mountain or saw them as a forewarning of the coming catastrophe.

The historic eruption in 79 A.D. was sudden and massive and launched a period of dramatic volcanic activity, with
eruptions recorded almost every 100 to 200 years until about 1139. After that, the mountain remained quiet until
December 1631, when a massive explosion shook the area and caused significant damage and loss to the villages at
its base. Volcanic activity resumed again in each of the following centuries. In the 20th century, there were two
periods of intense activity – from 1913 to 1929 and from 1933 to 1944. Since its last major eruption in 1944, the
mountain has experienced a period of rest and vineyards and farms have sprung up in the area once again.

How does the eruption that buried Pompeii compare to other historic volcanic eruptions?
Volcano experts measure the relative explosiveness of eruptions using a tool called the Volcanic Explosivity Index
(VEI). The eruption cloud height, the volume of the volcanic materials produced, and qualitative observations of the
eruption all factor into an eruption’s VEI value. Each interval on the VEI scale (1-8) represents a ten-fold increase
in observed eruption power.

The Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii in 79 A.D. ranked as 5.2 or 5.3 on the VEI. The explosion in the
Greek isles at Santorini in 1646 B.C. ranked a 6.5 – or about ten times more powerful. The 1980 Mt. St. Helen’s
eruption measured a 5.5. The massive blast at Krakatoa in 1883 measured 6.7 or 6.8. And the prehistoric eruptions
of several super volcanoes, such as those of Yellowstone, ranked as 7 or 8 on the VEI. So while the first century
eruption of Vesuvius was devastating, it was not the most explosive or destructive volcanic eruption on record!

Are all the artifacts in A Day in Pompeii actually from the ancient city of Pompeii?
The majority of the artifacts in A Day in Pompeii were recovered within the city limits of Pompeii. However, a
small number (about 10%) were found in a villa outside of town or in the nearby Roman towns of Herculaneum or
Oplontis. Both were also destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D.


Do the body casts that are included in A Day in Pompeii actually contain any human remains?
Body casts are made by pouring plaster into the cavities that are left in the volcanic materials by a decomposed
body. Thus, no human remains are inside.

Is A Day in Pompeii the same exhibit that was at the Field Museum in Chicago last year?
A Day in Pompeii is a different exhibit, though it includes many of the same types of artifacts that were included in
the Field Museum’s Pompeii: Stories from an Eruption exhibit. Both exhibits include artifacts that showcase the
culture, art, and lifestyle of ancient Pompeii, and both feature body casts of the eruption’s victims.

How did the Science Museum of Minnesota attract an important exhibit like this one?
The Science Museum partnered with three other U.S. museums to coordinate the creation and tour of A Day in
Pompeii: Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile, AL; Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC; and the San Diego Natural
History Museum. Together, the organizations received permission from the Soprintendenza Archaeologica di
Pompei (SAP), the official archaeological authority that governs the site, to display the artifacts that are included in
the exhibit. The fact that the SAP allowed these precious artifacts to leave Italy is proof of the Science Museum’s
strong reputation in the international museum world.

How much are tickets? Where do I get them?
Tickets for the Science Museum and A Day in Pompeii are $17.50 for adults, $13 for kids ages 4 to 12 for seniors
age 60 and older. Combination museum/Pompeii/Omnitheater tickets are also available. Discounts are available for
Science Museum members, groups of 15 or more, and individuals with limited incomes. An audio tour of the
exhibit, available in both adult and family versions, is included in the ticket price.

Tickets go on sale for the general public on Monday, February 26 at www.smm.org. (Science Museum members
may purchase their tickets beginning Monday, February 12.)

When can I see A Day in Pompeii?
A Day in Pompeii opens on Wednesday, June 27 at the Science Museum of Minnesota. It will be open daily (except
for September 10-13, Thanksgiving, and Christmas) through Sunday, January 6, 2008. For a complete list of
Science Museum hours and Omnitheater or 3D Cinema show times, visit www.smm.org.

Find more information about A Day in Pompeii at www.smm.org/pompeii.

Media Contacts:             Janine Hanson/Gail Vold Greco, PR Co-Directors, (651) 221-9423
                            Sarah Imholte, PR Coordinator, (651) 221-9412
                            Peg Roessler, PR Representative, (952)949-6550

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