MuseumsWinter 2023

Frozen in Time: Pompei 2.0

The Museum of Science and Industry Invites Guests to Step Back in Time to View Life in Pompei Moments Before the End

There are many, many events in our history that would prove tempting should one be able to to travel back in time to view up close. There are few that we can glean for an absolute certainty, the facts thereof. One such event is catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., marking the sharp end of activity in the life of Pompeii. Now an archaeological site in Italy’s southern Campania region, Pompeii is a city frozen in time, preserved by meters of centuries-old ash and pumice to give us a picture of life during the moments it came to a cataclysmic end.

This winter, The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) invites guests to step back in time and experience those moments in Pompeii: The Exhibition. This world-renowned collection of priceless artifacts and hands-on multimedia productions is staged quite precisely in 79 A.D., just hours before life in Pompeii was simultaneously fixed and lost in time for centuries by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

In a recent release announcing the new show, Chevy Humphrey, President, and CEO of MSI, offered a view into the exhibition’s fusion of history and technology saying, “The blend of scientific discovery and media-rich way of retelling history allows visitors to experience the awe of nature and human ingenuity. We’re thrilled to bring this innovative exhibition to Chicago and provide our guests with the ability to travel through time and immerse themselves in Pompeii with breathtaking, real-life examples of archeology, geology, earth science, art history, culture, and more.”

Pompeii: The Exhibition depicts daily life in Pompeii through an incredible combination of projections, audio, video, and photographic murals supplemented by more than 150 priceless artifacts on display from the unparalleled collection of the one of the most important archaeological museums, Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy. These artifacts, which include gladiator armor, weapons, pots, furniture, jewelry, medical instruments, and much, much more, provide a rather comprehensive view of just how the people of Pompeii lived, loved, worked, worshiped, and entertained before disaster struck one of the busiest commercial ports and highly strategic military cities of its day. 

The exhibition also includes completely immersive experiences showing holographic gladiatorial combat, a brand-new 3D experience which takes visitors through the different stages of the Mt. Vesuvius eruption, and finally a 4D theater that simulates Mount Vesuvius’s deathly impact on this ancient city. This all culminates with the reveal of full-body casts of human forms who perished during this incredible volcanic event. 

Said John Norman, President of World Heritage Exhibitions, the exhibition’s producers, “The story of Pompeii’s destruction and preservation is well-known around the world for providing a perfect encapsulation of life during the Roman time…We wanted to bring this historical event back to life and allow visitors to relive it vividly. By combining priceless artifacts with multimedia productions, we have created an authentic, captivating retelling of life in Pompeii.”Pompeii: The Exhibition is open from February 23 to September 4, 2023. The exhibition requires a timed-entry ticket. Advance reservations are highly recommended. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit