FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2024

Over 150 artifacts bring the final days of Pompeii to life

POMPEII: The Exhibition opens at Cincinnati Museum Center Friday

CINCINNATI - The sights, sounds and sensations of daily life and the final days of Pompeii will soon dazzle guests at Cincinnati Museum Center. POMPEII: The Exhibition premieres this Friday, showcasing more than 150 priceless artifacts from historic Pompeii at the height of the Roman Empire, just moments before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Tickets are available now.

“Pompeii is a remarkable story that exists as both ancient legend and archaeological treasure, providing a timeless snapshot of daily life in the Roman Empire,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We’re honored to be entrusted with these archaeological treasures and to once again bring the world to Cincinnati, and to do so in immersive fashion as we transport guests back in time to a period of splendor and a day of timeless catastrophe.”

On August 24, 79 A.D., the city of Pompeii, a thriving port city of the Roman Empire, was frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying the city – and its people – for more than 1700 years. Remarkably, the same ash and debris from Vesuvius’ unexpected eruption that destroyed the city, also preserved it. POMPEII: The Exhibition features more than 150 precious artifacts on loan from the remarkable collection of the National Archaeological Museum of Naples in Italy, including still-vibrant mosaics and frescoes, gladiator armor, statues, jewelry and everyday items that give a glimpse into everyday life in Pompeii.

“We wanted to bring this historical event back to life and allow guests to relive it vividly,” said John Norman, president of World Heritage Exhibitions, producer of POMPEII: The Exhibition. “Cincinnati Museum Center’s reputation as a premiere venue makes it a perfect location to exhibit these international treasures and provide audiences an opportunity to experience life in the bustling city of Pompeii before time essentially stopped.”

POMPEII: The Exhibition tells the tale of a city hidden from view and forgotten for centuries. The sudden disaster that destroyed it also preserved it, revealing to archaeologists a rare and unique record of its daily life – roads, buildings, municipal services, paintings, mosaics and even preserved bodies. Ongoing excavations and archaeological research – including by teams from the University of Cincinnati – continue to uncover an ever-evolving picture of everyday life at the height of the Roman Empire.

As guests walk through the exhibition, they travel back in time to that fateful August morning of the eruption. In a media-rich, object-based immersive experience, guests discover the bustling commercial port and strategic military and trading center nestled at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Authentic artifacts from Pompeii recreate a sense of this world as guests learn how its people lived, loved, worked, worshipped and found entertainment.

POMPEII: The Exhibition provides an artifact-rich, immersive experience, including:

  • An introductory theater that sets the scene in a video with dramatic reconstructions of Pompeii and the nearby volcano, painting the picture of an idyllic Roman city.
  • A reproduced atrium from a Roman villa in 79 A.D. that serves as the entry point to the ancient city.
  • Holographic gladiatorial combat, a brand-new 3D experience that showcases gladiators of different skills and types in combat.
  • Over 150 authentic artifacts that help bring the story of Pompeii to life, including mosaics and frescoes; gladiator helmets, armor and weapons; a ship’s anchor; lamps, jugs, cups, plates, pots and pans and other household objects and furniture; jewelry; medical instruments; and tools.
  • A simulated 4D eruption theater that allows guests to experience the deadly impact Mount Vesuvius had on the city, culminating in the reveal of full body casts of twisted human forms, asphyxiated by extreme heat and noxious gases, forever frozen in time.

CMC is also featuring local contributions to ongoing Pompeii research, including work by Dr. Steven Ellis from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Ellis has led some of the most extensive US-based excavations at Pompeii, digging and mapping more than two city blocks, revealing centuries of the city’s urban history. The gallery also highlights revolutionary work by University of Kentucky professor Dr. Brent Seales who is using micro-CT scans to “read” scrolls that were entombed by the Mount Vesuvius eruption at nearby Herculaneum. Using new technology, the team was able to reveal individual layers of scrolls still closed, revealing even the grains of sand between layers.

Guests to the exhibition can also fly over the modern-day archaeological site of Pompeii in a virtual reality experience. CMC’s Birdly experience encourages you to search for prominent points of interest, including theaters, amphitheaters, temples, forums and even brothels. The Fly Through Pompeii virtual reality experience is $6 per person.

Volcanoes: Fires of Creation returns to the OMNIMAX® Theater

Returning to the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater as a companion film to the exhibition is Volcanoes: Fires of Creation. The film takes theatergoers to the edge and inside the crater of active volcanoes around the world, and to the modern-day archaeological ghost town of Pompeii.

POMPEII: The Exhibition is open through July 28 at Cincinnati Museum Center. Visit for tickets and more information.


Adult                    $23.50
Child                     $19.50
Senior                  $21.50
Member Adult  $17.50
Member Child  $13.50

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About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized, award-winning institution housed in a National Historic Landmark. CMC is a vital community resource that sparks curiosity, inspiration, epiphany and dialogue. CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012, one of a select few museums in the nation to receive both honors. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History MuseumMuseum of Natural History & ScienceThe Children’s MuseumRobert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® TheaterCincinnati History Library and Archives and the Geier Collections and Research Center. Housed in historic Union Terminal – a National Historic Landmark restored in 2018 and recognized as the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects – CMC welcomes more than 1.8 million visits annually, making it one of the most visited museums in the country. For more information, visit