Monday, May 13, 2013

Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum Exhibition Review

I thoroughly enjoyed my last visit to the British Museum in London and my visit to Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition curated by Paul Roberts. The objects themselves were incredible, especially the wall frescoes, graphiti and kitchen implements. My favorite objects were two faience frogs in the Hortus area which were beautiful, I have never seen faience quite like it before. I was also very impressed with the displays. The exhibition is set out by the different rooms in a typical pompeiian house, Tablinum, Culina, Atrium etc. I thought this was very clever as progressing through the exhibition was almost like walking through a Roman house.

As I have been to Pompeii and experienced the incredible the incredible levels of preservation of the buildings this room set idea really helped to bring the living conditions alive for me. Quite a few of the objects I have studied about at school through Classical Civilisation so it was good to see them up close. The displays were also very good. I often feel in some exhibitions that the displays are trying to show the creative "genius" of the curator but these displays were minimalist  and emphasized the object, not the design of the display.

If I am to criticize the display in any way I would say the visitor flow was poorly designed as there were many bottlenecks and I often found myself getting very close and compact with other visitors when filing through narrow corridors. The labels were also, like the displays, slightly minimalist and could have done with a bit more information. But altogether a very good exhibition, highly recommended. However if you are going you must remember to book as it is the fastest selling show the British Museum has had for 25 years.