The exhibit of rare artifacts from the A.D. 79 eruption of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius departs Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies on Dec. 31 PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES


The exhibit of rare artifacts from the A.D. 79 eruption of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius departs Bozeman’s Museum of the Rockies on Dec. 31 PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES

By Sarah Gianelli EBS Contributor

BOZEMAN – “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii”—a rare exhibit of artifacts from the A.D. 79 eruption of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius, most of which have never before traveled to the U.S.—will end its six-month stint at Museum of the Rockies on Saturday, Dec. 31.

The exhibit, which offers unique insight into the lavish lifestyle and culture of ancient Rome’s wealthiest citizens, was in large part coordinated and curated by Montana State University Assistant Professor of Art History Regina Gee.

Wandering through the recreated environs of two Oplontis villas—a country estate approximately 5 kilometers from Pompeii, also decimated and ironically preserved in the cataclysmic eruption—visitors can marvel at astoundingly intact functional and decorative first century relics that include marble statues, authentic fresco fragments, coins, jewelry and vases while steeping in a multimedia, multi-disciplinary learning experience.

A fraction of “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero” as it appears at Museum of the Rockies spent three months at University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology before coming to Bozeman in June of 2016. Upon closing, the exhibit will travel to Massachusetts’ Smith College, where its contents and longevity will again be condensed before being returned to Italy.

The next special exhibit at Museum of the Rockies, “Crocs! Ancient Predators in a Modern World,” which will include living crocodiles, opens Saturday, Feb. 25.

Visit museumoftherockies.org for more information.