Pompeii Exhibition a Haunting Look at Disaster

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Art and History
Limited engagement runs through May 29 at Union Station in Kansas City
Author: Stephen Foutes
A one-of-a-kind experience is waiting for you at Union Station in Kansas City.

Pompeii: The Exhibition features more than 200 artifacts uncovered from the disaster-stricken Roman City, which was wiped from existence by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on Aug. 24, 79 A.D.

With original artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, this exhibition – making its North American debut at Union Station (click here to see a video) – details life in Pompeii before the volcano erupted and includes artwork and items used in daily life.

Objects in the exhibition are more than 2,000 years old but were well-preserved by the ash that fell as a result of the eruption. Information provided by the exhibit says Pompeii was buried under 15 feet of ash and stone after the disaster and that the city was forgotten within just a few years.

The thousands of people living in Pompeii succumbed to heat, fire and toxic gasses released by Vesuvius, just one day after celebrating the festival of Vulcanalia, which honored Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

In the 1700s, excavations of Pompeii began and the once-forgotten city was uncovered. Shielded from sun and water by ash and pumice, the items that survived Vesuvius remained very much intact, though careful preservation is required to ensure they remain so for years to come.

At the site of Pompeii, voids in the ash were formed by the bodies of the people who perished there. Plaster impressions were made of those hollows, and those casts offer startling detail on the final moments of the volcano’s victims. Several of the plaster molds are part of Pompeii experience at Union Station and serve as a sobering conclusion to the educational tour.

Before seeing the collection of plaster molds, you step into the “Eruption Theater,” an audio-visual recreation of that tragic day in Pompeii.

Pompeii: The Exhibition runs through May 29, 2017. Details and ticket information are available at UnionStation.org.




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