Q. What are the dates this exhibition will be open?
A. POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION will be on view from June 24 to October 22.
Q. Will there be an additional cost to attend the exhibit?
A. Yes. Tickets to POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION, which include general museum admission, are $26 for adults, $17 for youth (ages 3-13), and $22 for seniors (ages 63+). Prices for OMSI Members, which include admission to a giant screen Empirical film, are $16 for adults, $10 for youth, and $12 for seniors.
Q. I have young children with me, can I bring my stroller into the exhibition?
A. Strollers are not permitted inside the exhibition due to the fragile artifacts within. There is a designated space outside the exhibition entrance where you can park your stroller.
Q. When are the best times to visit the exhibition? When is the last admission to the exhibition?
A. OMSI is generally busiest during the late mornings and early afternoons. In order to avoid crowds, the best times to visit are when OMSI opens at 9:30 a.m., or later in the day, after 4 p.m. Through October 22, the museum is open until 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and open until 7 p.m on Saturdays. Please note, however, that same-day admission tickets for POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION will not be sold after 4:45 p.m. (6 p.m. on Saturdays) to allow guests adequate time to view the exhibition.
Q. Is this exhibition appropriate for young children?
A. Adults and children are welcome to visit POMPEII: THE EXHIBITION, which has been visited by over 800,000 people during its North American tours. However, the exhibition may not be suitable for some children. The exhibition includes body casts of those who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius as well as a small, separate section that discusses erotic art in ancient Pompeii. Because every family is different and children are at varying stages of development, we recommend that you become familiar with and discuss the exhibition with any accompanying children before deciding whether or not to share the experience with them.
Historical and Archaeological FAQs
Q. When did Mount Vesuvius erupt?
A. Mount Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD, and sent a cloud of ashes, pumice, rocks and hot volcanic gases into the sky that people could see for hundreds of miles.
Q. What happened when the volcano erupted?
A. Days before the eruption, tremors shook Pompeii and surrounding cities more frequently. Shortly before noon the volcano erupted and by 1:00 p.m. the dust and ash had completely covered the sky. By 8:00 p.m. the eruptions had grown more violent creating heavy debris of falling ash and pumice that buried Pompeii and its neighboring cities, Herculaneum and Stabiae. Eruptions and earthquakes continued into the next day and that morning, the largest pyroclastic flows of hot ashes, volcanic gases and debris made their way through the streets of Pompeii completely destroying the city. In just two minutes the city streets were covered in almost 8 feet of hot ash. On the morning of August 26, the eruption finally stopped, leaving almost 5 cubic miles of pumice and ash covering approximately 186 miles of land.
Q. How long did people have to evacuate?
A. Though earthquakes began days before the eruption, most Pompeians did not view them as potential warning signs. With the eruption occurring just after 12:00 p.m., it is believed residents of Pompeii had only a few hours to evacuate the city.
Q. How was the city preserved?
A. The large amount of ash (known as a pyroclastic flow) that covered the city acted as a preservative. During a pyroclastic flow, enormous volumes of extremely hot gases, ash, and rocks rush down the side of a volcano, like an avalanche; there are also big explosions and large, billowing clouds. This mixture of ash, rock and gas, covered the city and froze it in time.
Q. Why did Pompeii remain undiscovered for so long?
A. Due to the sheer volume of ash and pumice that covered the city, Pompeii was thought to be lost forever.
Q. How many people died during the eruption?
A. About three-quarters of Pompeii's 165 acres have been excavated, and some 1,150 bodies have been discovered out of about 2,000 thought to have died in the city when it was destroyed. This means that the vast majority of the city of 20,000 fled at the first signs of the volcanic activity.
Q. What is the present status of Pompeii?
A. The ancient city of Pompeii is a world-renowned tourist attraction that has seen the likes of over 25 million visitors. Though sections of it are currently visible to tourists, much of the city remains protected due to the moratorium imposed by Professor Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, the superintendent of the site.
Q. Is Mount Vesuvius still active?
A. Yes. Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in mainland Europe, and has produced some of the continent's largest volcanic eruptions. Located on Italy's west coast, it overlooks the Bay and City of Naples and sits in the crater of the ancient Somma volcano.
Q. What kind of volcano is Mount Vesuvius?
A. Mount Vesuvius is a stratovolcano, also called composite volcanoes, because they are built of layers of alternating lava flow, ash and blocks of stone. These volcanoes have a conduit system inside them that channels magma from deep within the Earth to the surface. Stratovolcanoes erupt with great violence. Pressure builds in the magma chamber as gases, under immense heat and pressure, are dissolved in the liquid rock. When the magma reaches the conduits the pressure is released and the gases explode. Because they form in a system of underground conduits, stratovolcanoes may blow out the sides of the cone as well as the summit crater.