British Museum: Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

At this critically-acclaimed final exhibition in the British Museum’s Reading Room, an extraordinary collection of two-thousand-year-old artefacts - many so far unseen by the public - tell the touching personal story of how the lives of wealthy Roman families were torn apart when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79.

This historic and profound exhibition is an encounter with a flawed, fascinating and miraculous society, with sex and death, with the human epic that was Rome.

- Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

Casts taken from the voids left by bodies which were originally entombed in ash give a macabre insight into how the disaster stopped the townspeople in their tracks; but it is the collection of everyday objects that have been excavated at the two towns which form the focus of the exhibition, going back in time to the days before the disaster, into the homes and domestic lives of the towns’ inhabitants, and giving a remarkable insight into Roman daily life.

As with all British Museum exhibitions, the focus for Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum was on the exceptional collection of artefacts on display, and all technical installation had to be judiciously chosen and installed to be in-keeping with both the environment and the objects. A careful programme of installation was devised in close collaboration with the British Museum around the delivery of the artefacts so that no threat was posed to them.

To ensure easy running of the systems for busy museum staff, the exhibition’s controls were fully automated to turn on and off at pre-determined times, sending electronic status information to Sysco Technical Support, while also allowing manual override for special evening events.

Sysco has collaborated with the British Museum on all 9 temporary exhibitions held in the Reading Room since its opening for the purpose in 2007, and is in consultation with the museum on their next temporary exhibition space.

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