Vesuvius disaster buried treasure trove of Pompeiian life in 79 A.D.


Visitors will experience the sights, sounds and sensations before, during and after the catastrophic 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which left the city of Pompeii frozen in time. Exhibition to feature nearly 200 priceless artifacts – some traveling outside Italy for the first time, a Union station spokesman said.

Get ready for a wonderful experience when visiting the exhibition hall of Kansas City’s Union Station as the Pompeii exhibit opened days prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The exhibit runs about six months and promises to be one of the most attended events since the King Tut exhibit several years ago. Do not miss this historic adventure.

On Aug. 24, 79 A.D., the Roman city of Pompeii was frozen in time by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying everything in its path for more than 1700 years. The same ash and debris from Vesuvius’ unpredicted eruption that destroyed the city – also remarkably preserved it. POMPEII: The Exhibition will feature nearly 200 precious artifacts on loan from the unparalleled collection of the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, a spokesman for Kansas City’s historic Union Station said.

“We wanted to bring this most historical event back to life and allow visitors to relive it vividly,” John Norman, president, Exhibitions International and producer of POMPEII: The Exhibition, said. “This new exhibition allows you to explore treasures and experience life in the bustling city of Pompeii before time essentially stopped. Guests will then relive the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a 4D eruption theatre before stepping into the last gallery featuring the most iconic artifacts of Pompeii . . . actual body casts of those who perished. Union Station’s first-class 20,000 square foot Bank of America Gallery and stellar reputation in the worldwide exhibition community makes Kansas City an easy first choice when it comes to an international tour of this importance.”

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The exhibit contain relics from the excavation that have never been seen outside of Italy. To help visitor understand the artifacts and the significance, an audio guide accompanies guests as they stroll through the exhibit. The guides were not available when the exhibit opened, but were expected in place by Black Friday, a spokesman said.

Digital SLR cameras are not allowed to photograph inside the exhibit, but cell phones with flash turned off are free to snap away. (Make sure you phone is fully charged and ready.) Flash can damage the ancient artifacts and over time, alter their color, a volunteer explained at the entrance.

Pompeii: The exhibition follows the hugely scientific exhibition, The Body Works. That exhibition, like most of the other exhibitions was deemed highly successful by Michael Tritt, media director for Union Station. When asked about most successful exhibits, he explained that exhibits do not always run for the same number of days, so ranking them becomes a difficult endeavor.

Concerning the top exhibitions for Union Station, Michael Tritt said, It’s hard to compare in an apples-to-apples way, as each exhibition opens, closes and runs at different times and durations. That said, the top more recent performers include “Titanic,” “Diana,” and “The Discovery of King Tut.” “Body Works” was also very successful, attracting nearly 80,000 visitors and earning a very high satisfaction rating.

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“We welcomed many guests for the first time, which was a reflection of a unique and compelling subject matter. The entire exhibition was presented with a focus on human health education and with a great deal of respect for both audience and donor. Guests responded in a very positive way.”

Union Station seems to balance their exhibits among varied topics and special interest. The “Body Works” followed the sports fans’ “NFL Experience.” The Pompeii exhibit follows the scientific “Body Works.” Variety keeps new audiences learning about the educational aspects presented by Union Station.

“Expectations for Pompeii are high. The subject matter is fascinating and the 200 artifacts presented in this exhibition are 100% authentic. So many topics and areas of interest are presented in this exhibition. Ancient History. Earth Science. Roman Culture. Archeology. And on and on. No other place on earth has afforded a complete moment-in-time snapshot of life — nearly 2,000 years ago — that was literally frozen and preserved in such a complete and compelling way,” Tritt said.

Kansas City debuts Pompeii for its national tour. As Kansas Citians attend and spread the word, the exhibit continues to grow and attract new visitors.

“Guest surveys from our first week of the run are extremely positive. That’s a great indicator that our efforts in bringing Pompeii: The Exhibition to Kansas City will yield a large, enthusiastic audience who will tell their friends about their experience,” he said

“I’d say if you miss this exhibition,” Tritt said, “you will have missed something really powerful. Tickets are selling fast online and at our Ticket Office. And a good portion are being purchased as holiday gifts.” So, if you are stuck on what to purchase for a holiday gift, Union Station offers a solution for a unique gift of interest, education, and learning.

Union Station is on the radar internationally and is known as a world-class destination for presenting large, complex and highly-educational exhibitions. Likewise, Kansas City and the entire region have proven to have a large appetite and appreciation for diverse and rich content. With that enviable combination, the Station has a strong position from which to attract top-quality tours. In the case of Pompeii: The Exhibition, the formula also included past relationships. It’s a big world of exhibitions, but not so big when it comes to the top producers. We’ve had the great fortune of working with some of the best in the business, and that earned trust matters when it comes to landing the big ones. Pompeii: The Exhibition, in fact, is making Kansas City its first North American stop. Even more validation that our community and Union Station venue represent a top-tier destination world-wide,” he said.

Even with the anticipated success of Pompeii, plans continue to select subsequent exhibits and snare them for Union Station and Kansas Citians. Successful exhibits encourage visitors form a 300 mile radius. If within a days drive, good exhibits bring the crowds. That makes the exhibits important to other educational and entertainment venues.

“Decisions are made based on a number of factors. Quality of exhibition content is paramount. The educational and entertainment values must also be high. Our guests come to us for the chance to encounter new topics, learn new things and consume content in a relaxed, engaging and even entertaining way. We attract guests of all ages and keep that in mind when selecting exhibitions. As well, we couldn’t bring exhibitions like Pompeii to Kansas City without the tremendous support of sponsors. It’s a big undertaking to land and launch a tour of this size. Bank of America stepped up as our Presenting Sponsor for Pompeii and again proved themselves as a powerhouse in supporting community and culture. As well, a whole host of other Kansas City favorites came to the table as vital sponsors, including Molle Automotive, Cervasi, Cascone’s, NTDF, Kansas City Star, KCPT, The Westin Crown Center, KSHB 41 and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Without these visionary and community-invested brands, exhibitions this big simply wouldn’t be possible. So, in a very real sense, the entire city — most importantly our guests — have a voice in what comes to Union Station’s Bank of America gallery. We listen carefully and spend lots of time examining possibilities. Once we commit, we’re confident in our selection.,” Tritt said.

A press release from Union Station said, “POMPEII: The Exhibition examines the lives of the doomed residents both before and after the massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. As visitors walk through the Exhibition, they will travel back in time to that fateful morning of the eruption. In a media-rich, object-based, immersive experience, they will learn how Pompeii was a bustling commercial port and strategic military and trading center, and that its neighbor Herculaneum, also buried by Vesuvius, was an exclusive Mediterranean resort.
Artifacts – including frescoes, mosaics, and statues from the sites – will recreate a sense of this world as visitors discover how its people lived, loved, worked, worshiped, and found entertainment. POMPEII: The Exhibition tells the tale of this city, hidden from view and forgotten for centuries until its rediscovery over 250 years ago. The sudden disaster that destroyed it also preserved it and over time archaeologists have uncovered a unique record of its daily life — roads, buildings, municipal services, paintings, mosaics, artifacts, and even preserved bodies. ”

After visiting Pompeii several times with summer tour groups, this is the closest thing to being there. Instead of walking on a guided tour for almost three hours, the mind can only store and focus for a set period (different among each age group and interest level.) Pompeii: The Exhibition allows visitors to explore at their own pace, listen to the audio, study specific pieces, discuss relics and artifacts, and take as much time as needed. I, personally, enjoy history and the archeology of Pompeii. I marvel at what is preserved for humanity. I stonily encore all ages to attend and enjoy this exhibit. Pompeii is a great value for what is presents. Do not miss this exhibit.

General Admission ticket prices are $19.95 for adults, $15.95 for children 3-12 and $16.95 for Seniors (55+) and Military on Mondays. School Group pricing is $9.95. And Groups of 15 or more are priced at $12.95. Advance ticket reservations are recommended by visiting or the Union Station Box Office.

For more information about Group visits or how to become a Union Station Member, please call 816-460-2020 or visit

Tags: Galleries and Exhibits, Kansas City, Union Station, Union Station Exhibits, Kansas City Entertained, Arts & Entertainment, Pompeii–The Exhibition,


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