Artifacts from Pompeii coming to The Leonardo

(Image courtesy The Leonardo / IMG) A view of one of the displays in "Pompeii: The Exhibition," a touring exhibition set for The Leonard Museum of Creativity and Innovation, Nov. 23, 2019, to May 3, 2020.

Some 150 artifacts from Pompeii — the ancient Italian city buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. — will go on display later this year at The Leonardo Museum of Creativity and Innovation.

The Leonardo announced Tuesday that it would host “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” a touring museum exhibit opening Nov. 23 and running through May 3, 2020. Salt Lake City will be the tour’s last stop before the artifacts are returned to Italy, the museum said.

“Having Pompeii’s archaeological treasures visit Salt Lake City is truly an honor, as these pieces rarely leave Italy,” Alex Hesse, The Leonardo’s executive director, said in a statement.

The artifacts are on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum, and include 10 items on their first tour in the United States. Those items include a bronze gladiator helmet from the first century A.D., a bronze statue of Apollo the Citharist (depicting the Greek god playing a musical instrument) from about 50 A.D., and several fresco paintings, including one of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, and his satyr companion Silenus, dating from between 50 and 79 A.D.

The exhibition, organizers say, aims to re-create the sensations of Pompeii before, during and after the eruption of Vesuvius on Aug. 24, 79 A.D. The city was a thriving commercial port, a center for trade and the military. The eruption buried Pompeii in volcanic ash, suffocating an estimated 2,000 residents — and also preserving the site for centuries, until the city was discovered and first excavated in the mid-18th century.

The artifacts are augmented by an introductory video, a reproduction of a Roman villa atrium, a 4-D theater that simulates the eruption, and a reveal of full-body casts of the twisted human forms of the residents who were asphyxiated by the volcano’s heat and noxious gases.

“We wanted to bring this historic event back to life and allow visitors to relive it vividly,” said John Norman, managing director of exhibitions for IMG, the company mounting the exhibition.

Tickets to see “Pompeii: The Exhibition” at The Leonardo are on sale now. Tickets are $24.99 for adults, $19.99 for children (3 to 15), and $21.99 for seniors (65 and up) and military with valid ID. The group rate, for 15 or more, is $18.99. The school group price is $8.99 per student. Leonardo members can get in for $9.99. Advance ticket reservations are recommended; go to theleonardo.org/pompeii or to The Leonardo box office, at 209 S. 500 East, in Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City.