Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Franklin Institute: One Day in Pompeii

Having been to  Pompeii ourselves in Italy years ago, we were very excited when we heard that The Franklin Institute was hosting an exhibit filled with artifacts and insight to this amazing city and the catastrophe that is linked to it.  Our excitement mounted as we began our tour with a introductory video.  Then a pair of wooden doors swung open, ushering us into the ancient world of Pompeii.
An impressive statue of Neptune (a sea-god for a seaside city) captured our attention immediately.  From the very first room, visitors can tell that Pompeii was a city affluence, wealth, and culture, with the very best of everything the world had to offer at that point in time, from technology and home décor to art and food.  The pieces are unbelievably beautiful and interesting (the frescos are especially breath-taking), and definitely make one slow down to experience and learn about each part of the exhibit.
Something we couldn't help but be struck by was how modern a lot of the artifacts looked.  While the gold coins and medical equipment were definitely from a different time (*shudders*), a lot of the pottery, tables, and home décor were items that would easily fit into our homes today.  By the time visitors make their way through the interior exhibits, learning about home life, and enter the exterior Forum to experience public life, they begin to identify with the citizens of Pompeii.  These were real people with real everyday lives just like we are living now.
This point stays with you as you are ushered into a dark room and suddenly find yourself looking over ancient Pompeii in all its glory with the sounds of the city's hustle and bustle and see Mount Vesuvius looming in the distance.  It is the day of the eruption.  Hours quickly pass, and an immersive CGI experience takes you through the unbelievable and horrifying series of natural events from beginning to end, until there is nothing left of the city of Pompeii
It is then that the screen lifts, and visitors come face to face with the fate of the people that we were just getting to know.  Full body casts frozen in time reveal fear, agony, and confusion of a population caught by surprise.  The instinct to protect family and survive is apparent with groups of people huddled together and even one man still pushing up off the floor.
Those curious as to the science behind discovering and preserving Pompeii and the mighty force that stopped it in its tracks should make sure to visit the Mount Vesuvius Science Lab on the 3rd Floor and take in the popular Ring of Fire film at the Tuttleman IMAX theater.
One Day in Pompeii leaves visitors with an affection and appreciation for a civilization lost to the world and then discovered and reintroduced to us.

One Day in Pompeii will be at The Franklin Institute until April 27th.
Check HERE for exhibit hours and ticket prices.
See more PHOTOS from Daily Vacationer's visit.
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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  1. Sounds moving! I definitely want to check it out, thanks for the review.

  2. I haven't been to the Franklin Institute in ages. They have always had such wonderful exhibits. I would LOVE to see this one!

  3. I love their exhibits. I will have to check this one out too! Looks interesting!

  4. I would really like to see this exhibit. This sounds like a great family plan for an enjoyable day.