Melbourne Museum and Pompeii

On Friday I was looking up things to do this weekend and noticed that the Pompeii exhibit was ending Sunday. Tickets were already sold out for the whole weekend but there were a limited number of walk-up tickets available first come, first served so the kids and I hopped on the morning train and hurried downtown to the Melbourne Museum. We got there just as it opened but apparently many other people had the same idea so we waited in a rather long line. Luckily we managed to snag tickets...

The Pompeii exhibit was wonderful. There were many beautiful frescoes, statues, and every-day household items; there was even the iconic loaf of bread. They had very good and engaging descriptions of every-day life that really brought Pompeii to life. (Did you know they gathered urine to use when they did laundry?) The kids enjoyed a 3-D movie that recreated the day of the explosion and another movie about the current geology of Vesuvius and how it could bury Venice any day now. (So you'd better go if you want to see it before it is buried under 10 feet of ash!) Nikki was engaged and well-behaved and things were going great until we got to the room with the plaster casts of the bodies. The exhibit featured many of the famous ones including the chained dog. As if the body itself was not sad enough, they gave a lengthy and dramatic description of how the dog died trying to climb out of the ashes but then suffocated when it's chain ran out. Why did I read that description aloud? I have no idea. Ben and I were both crying before I read read it; afterwards Ben started shaking and sobbing thinking about the poor dog. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?! As we sat down to lunch Ben said, "Mom, next time can we please skip the last room?" Good idea. Or maybe we will just skip expensive exhibits about tragic historic events entirely.

We had a really nice lunch at the sit-down restaurant:

Then we explored the rest of the museum. Ben finally got to see a live jumping ant (inside the log):

The boys got to ride an echidna:

And Nik found a really cool pine-cone-like-thing:

We had fun playing in the gardens outside the Exhibition Hall:

There is so much more we want to see at the museum -- the dinosaurs, the bugs, the minerals. I am glad we got a membership because we will definitely be going back!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like they brought almost everything from Pompeii,only roads and walls left there.
Nice museum and beautiful grounds too.

Anonymous said...

I found a picture of Purple Swamphen Ben saw yesterday on Internet - what a bird!

MoscowMom said...

How cool! You meant Naples, right? It really boggled my mind this summer to see how the area around the base is filled with high-priced real estate... WHO ON EARTH would want to live at at the foot of a live volcano??!!

MoscowMom said...

About Venice, though... I keep hearing more often in the news about how the sinking city is being overcome by water...

Joe Ganci said...

Wow, what a fantastic opportunity. The Pompeii exhibit was here in DC for a while and I missed going. Ivana and I have been to Pompeii in Italy but there's something to be said for seeing a museum exhibit, because you learn so much there. The actual town is much bigger than I had thought so we hadn't given ourselves enough time.

One correction, I think. Venice is at the opposite end of Italy. You didn't mean Venice, right? If Venice were covered by Vesuvius, the lava and magma would cover most of Italy just getting there! :-)

Did you mean Naples or one of the smaller towns near Vesuvius?

One thing I learned from what you posted I had never thought about before. All three volcanoes that have been active in the past couple of hundred years are all located in Italy, either on the mainland or on one of the islands. Wow!

Tina in CT said...

I agree with both you and Ben about the dog. Hearing anything that hurts animals is so sad.

On another note, glad that you and the boys enjoyed the day at the museum.

Katya said...

I did mean Naples, of course. :-)

Wasn't it in DC last year? I remember Ben and I thought of driving down...

Anonymous said...

Do you have any memories of Pompeii?
You were about a yer older than Nik is now when you were there.

Joe Ganci said...

Yes, it was in DC last year when I missed it. :-(

We talked about Pompeii just the other night at the Italian Language group I attend. A couple just came back from visiting the Campania region of Italy, including Pompeii. I asked the husband what his favorite part was and he said it was all the bordellos! He especially found interesting how they had menus on the wall with prices for different...uhm...selections!

When we were in Pompeii and the tour guide was showing us one of the bordellos, two young ladies standing next to me were discussing it. One said to the other, "Would you have worked here?" The other said, "No way, with stone beds??" Those of us who heard them couldn't help but laugh out loud!