After inventing geometry and physics, Romans invented history—primarily as a way to document their many inventions. Take a stroll through history with today’s Groupon: for $21, you get one ticket and audio tour of Pompeii the Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius at the Discovery Times Square (a $35.31 value). Children under 4 years of age gain free admission. Tickets can be used any time Monday through Friday, or after 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Pompeii the Exhibit, which the New York Times called "an absorbing show," arranges well-preserved relics and artwork alongside the largest collection of plaster body casts from the site ever publicly displayed. Bear witness to more than 250 artifacts, including frescoes and mosaics, as well as the preserved forms of a host of 1st-century Romans killed when Mt. Vesuvius overflowed with delicious jelly. Archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli poured plaster into the impressions these bodies left on the volcanic ash covering Pompeii, and his detailed casts record the facial impressions, postures, and clothing of the city's last inhabitants. Many of his casts are painstakingly reproduced in this exhibit. Historical inquirers may view an immersive time-lapse projection shown in a vibrating room that simulates what the citizens of Pompeii experienced, without using 3-D glasses or Smell-O-Vision.
The Roman Empire left a wealth of artifacts behind, and this historical record has shaped the dreams of historians, possessed Latin-speaking children, and movie moguls looking for tax breaks on their private collection of swords and sandals. In addition to the forms on display, the exhibit provides all manner of information on the daily lives and customs of Romans, which are partly detailed on the exhibit blog.
- These scenes are all the more stark because the exhibition — deftly designed and planned by Ralph Appelbaum Associates — makes sure that we encounter them only after we have come to know something about Pompeii as a thriving town. The volcanic debris that destroyed it also preserved it, along with elaborately painted frescoes, exquisite mosaics, tools of business and trade, gladiators’ armor, and artifacts and murals that this exhibition associates with bordellos. The show provides a brief glimpse of that world. – Edward Rothstein, New York Times
Discovery Times Square
Unlike more traditional museums, Discovery Times Square does much more than simply display artifacts. The space, located in the building once occupied by the New York Times printing presses, encourages visitors to learn through interactive, sensory exhibits. Past shows have taken guests inside the Titanic’s final wreck site, Da Vinci’s ingenious inventions, and the vast collection of riches and bandages owned by King Tut. The Discovery Times Square shop features games, DVDs, and other Discovery Channel products, as well as sweet treats from the DC Cupcakes Café and Georgetown Cupcake.