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December 12, 2018

Don’t Miss: Kelsey Museum features objects from ancient luxury villas

February 15, 2016

Don’t Miss: Kelsey Museum features objects from ancient luxury villas

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology will open the largest show in its nearly 90-year history Feb. 19. “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii,” will explore the lavish lifestyle of ancient Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful citizens who vacationed along the Bay of Naples.

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology will present "Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii," Feb. 19-May 15. (Image courtesy of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology)

Julius Caesar, Cicero, Augustus and Nero all owned villas there. With more than 200 objects on loan from Italy, the exhibit focuses on two structures at Oplontis that buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79.

A display of domestic objects — bronze, glass and pottery vessels — will hint at the lives of the middle class. The tragic end of life brought by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius is explored in a display of one of 54 skeletons found, a young pregnant woman who was carrying jewelry and coins as she tried to escape.

An opening lecture by Professor John R. Clarke, University of Texas, Austin, is at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Pendleton Room, Michigan Union. “Tour Leisure and Luxury with Exhibition Curator Elaine Gazda” is presented at 2-3 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Kelsey Museum’s Meader Gallery. The exhibit is presented through May 15.