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Pompeii In the Shadow of the Volcano – A ROM Exhibition

Raymond QiuSelena Xu
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by Alexandra Zhang, Alice Zhou, Amy Tang, Anna Shao, Cherry Zhang, Cheryl Wang, Laila Vahed, Lindsay Zhou, Mary Yang, Raymond Qiu, Selena Xu

The sky went black as the volcano, Mt. Vesuvius erupted without warning. Pumice started to fall from the sky. All the citizens of Pompeii ran for their lives, believing that there were no more gods as the world seemed to begin to fall apart.


“We think that 90% of the people in Pompeii had escaped before the worst part had arrived,” said Katherine Dunnell, who is a mineralogy technician in the Department of Natural History at Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). She is also a curator at the new Pompeii exhibition as well as a volcano expert.

The Pompeii exhibition at the ROM is not what you would expect. The interactive and informative exhibit was put together by the three curators Katherine Dunnell, Paul Dennis, and Kate Cooper. It started on June 13th, 2015 and will continue until January 3rd, 2016.

The exhibition allows people to understand not only how the Romans lived their lives back then, but also how they lived at the foot of the volcano.

There are about 200 artifacts at the exhibition that shows Pompeii’s breathtaking story. Some of the key features are the head of Augustus, the cast of a dog and a wine drinking cup called a cantharus. Many of the objects are being shown for the first time in Canada.

“From the first time we were talking about it to when it opened in June, it took almost three years.” said Dunnell. “So, we’re now working on exhibitions that [the visitors] will see in the next two to three years.”

Their Greek and Roman curator, Paul Dennis got an email from the museum of Naples, and they wanted the Pompeii exhibition to go to the ROM. All artifacts were packed carefully and shipped by airplane.

We interviewed David Slonim, a father who brought his daughter to see this exhibition.

“I came here because my 7-year old daughter was really [into] learning about Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius erupting,” said Slonim. “My favourite part is to see how people back then lived.”

We also interviewed Herb Lubick, who came all the way from San Diego, California. Lubick actually went to Pompeii 8 years ago and he is happy to learn new things about Pompeii that he might have forgotten from his previous visit there.

“I really enjoy all the ways that Pompeii is presented here,” said Lubick. “Secondly, I liked the enormity of the display.”

We interviewed a young boy who had his own thoughts on Pompeii. “[My favourite part is] the dead people,” said Aaron. “It looks like people stuck inside rocks.”

The boutique at the ROM Pompeii exhibition has lots of souvenirs like T-shirts, Roman jewelry, home decorations, stationary, guides, toys, and much more.

The admission fee for kids under the age of 3 is free, adults are $28, students and seniors with I.D. are $25.50 and children age 4 – 14 are $20. The Pompeii exhibition hours are the same as the ROM hours, and the last entry to the exhibition is 90 minute before the museum closes. The ROM is located right beside the Museum subway station in Toronto.

In our opinion, the Pompeii exhibit has granted many different opportunities to everyone.  We got to see things that people wore, used, and lived in over one thousand six hundred years ago.



Meet the writers

Raymond Qiu

Raymond Qiu

Hi there! My name is Raymond Qiu. I’m 11 years old. My favorite sports are swimming, skiing, and volleyball. I also enjoy playing Chess and Lego with my friends. On the breaks, I love to travel to cool destinations to take pictures and enjoy the delicious food. When I’m tired of homework, I like to create random pieces on the piano and be my own audience. I admire those who can speak many different languages, and I wish I could learn more too. This great skill can help me communicate and make friends when I travel, and also support me become a businessman with a global business in the future. Let’s start from VoiceK.

Selena Xu

Selena Xu

Hi , my name is Selena Xu and I go to the school Springfield P.S. I am participating in Voice K because I found out recently that Journalism is something that I have passion for. I like Music because it is like listening to the wind. I like Minecraft because it is very challenging and it helps by working hard to find the rarest thing , diamond. I hope you like the work I do!

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