Artifacts From Volcanic Disaster In Pompeii Focus Of Huge New Museum Exhibition In Ventura County

Oct 4, 2018

Crews are putting the finishing touches on a new exhibition in Ventura County which takes you back more than 2,000 years in time.

It gives you a taste of one of the most famous disasters in history. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley is hosting the massive new exhibition “Pompeii.”

It features more than 150 artifacts from the city, which was destroyed by an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The disaster covered the city of 20,000 people with a 15 foot high layer of ash, and volcanic debris, which preserved it.

As you walk into the exhibition, you feel like you are entering the city, with a re-creation of a street.

Jason Simmons is the Director of Exhibits for IMG, which put together the “Pompeii” exhibition in Simi Valley. He says this is the first stop of a three city tour of the artifacts on loan from an Italian museum.

Simmons takes us deep into the exhibition, to see one of the featured objects. In the center of a room there is a six foot tall marble statue of Venus, the Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

The Pompeii exhibition also features a high tech element intended to give visitors a taste of what it might have been like in that Italian city on the fateful day, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, complete with a vibrating floor and a cloud of steam.

At the end of the exhibition you see some of the most graphic reminders of the disaster’s toll. There are full body casts made from some of the eruption’s victims.

Simmons says what’s great about the exhibition ironic is that you can actually see more Pompeii artifacts at this exhibition in Ventura County than if you go walk the ruins in Italy. Because of the elements, recovered artifacts can't be displayed openly, so they are in museums.

“Pompeii” the exhibition opens October 6th, and runs through next spring at the Presidential Library in Simi Valley