It is often argued that the Roman Empire is the most formidable and imposing power that the humanity has ever seen. It had engulfed over fifty nations by 117 AD combining a captivating range of cultures. Thoroughly and carefully prepared exhibition at the Penn Museum explores diverse people of the Roman Empire and the way individuals saw themselves as well as other people as Romans. Moreover, the museum exhibition examines the Roman heritage ranging from the languages human beings speak today to the lawful frameworks by which people live, the cities in which they live, and even the table manners. The museum’s Rome collection features the finest and discerning pieces from that ancient period. Numerous highlights include magnificent sculptures from the villas owned by the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Tiberius, coins from the renowned Hoxne Hoard, almost perfectly preserved children clothes, and jewelry. Exhibition displays that although the power and wealth made the Empire unstoppable and irresistible, commonplace conventions and legacy prospered facing overwhelming changes.
The Rome gallery represented in the Penn Museum located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania highlights thousand artifacts namely, glass vessels, pottery, metalworking, silver and gold coins, marble and bronze sculptures, mosaics, and thirty thousand other remarkable objects that date from 3000 BC to the fifth century CE (Dutton, 1999). Millions of guests including locals and tourists can take an amazing trip across different continents through time and enjoy the time travel at the Penn museum.
The exhibition explores not only the Empire’s organization, power, and wealth but also its attitude toward provinces and other inhabitants. Personal, military, as well as religious objects presented in the gallery give the audience a great insight into the human lives across the Roman Empire. Fascinating objects demonstrate millions of visitors the way Roman people and surrounding places were adapted to the Empire. The exhibition also represents specific material from the Midlands collections combining the story of interesting places and locals who lived under the Roman rule. With no doubts, the exhibition is full of breathtaking activities for kids of all ages. Moreover, there are plenty of other exciting activities and events during the entire exhibition.
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The technical, artistic, as well as other commercial achievements of the Roman Republic are apparent in the gallery that is full of magnificent marble figures including the unusual cult statue of the goddess Diana and other women, men, priests, and deities of the Roman Empire. Numerous bronzes, including cast copies of objects that were excavated from the two wealthiest towns Herculaneum and Pompeii in the nineteenth century, greatly reflects the real domestic life (White, Brownlee, Romano, & Turfa, 2002).
The audience may enjoy astonishing miniature engraved stones, silver, gold coins, and jewelry that reflect various artistic skills through the Romans’ exquisite craftsmanship with a focus on the smallest details. Marvelous objects from the famous glass collection have recently traveled throughout the country serving as vivid and glistening reminders of the refinement of Roman style and taste. Amphoras found during the explorations of the famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau on the coast of Marseilles in the fifties represent the fascinating story of maritime trade in the Roman Republic. In addition, legendary portraits of Roman females, images of perfume bottles, adornments and cosmetic tools fill out the theme of women and their role in the society. Numerous portraits of kids and their toys give the audience an opportunity to imagine how children lived in the Roman world.
It is important to note that the Empire’s inhabitants used more glass in comparison with any other ancient civilization. During the 1st century BC, glassblowing was discovered in the Syrian-Palestinian region, and by the 1st century AD, glass vessels had become commonplace throughout the whole empire (Romano, 2006). Periodically, they were exported to as far away as the Far East and Scandinavia. The Penn museum’s collection estimates more than two hundred glass vessels that were made in the period starting from the 1st century BC. Unlike many presentations dedicated to the ancient glass with a focus on the rarest and graceful objects treating them as the outstanding works of art, this Roman exhibition is about people and various unusual things. The show’s curator Stuart Fleming says that due to this exhibition, many people became aware of the fact that somebody once handled these refined objects.
In addition, numerous objects from the households of Roman women and men, their decorations, dining vessels, mosaics, and painted walls, as well as some utilitarian objects such as lead pipes that brought drinking water can be also seen in the exhibition reflecting the domestic life of human beings. The centerpiece of this part of the show is the Roman house that was excavated at Herculaneum and Pompeii. Every visitor can also hear the voice of the renowned architect Vitruvius that described variations and modifications in the housing design.
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The exhibition is incredibly interesting and instructive, and it can be regarded as a perfect gift for everybody, whether or not they are regular museum visitors for those who appreciate art and in particular, the distant history of the Roman Empire. The strength of this exhibition undoubtedly encourages the audience to learn more about past since it brings unbelievable impressions, as well as overall uplifting and joyful experience. Owing to this exhibition, the museum has undoubtedly transformed people’s comprehension of the human experience. The Penn Museum continues to offer the public a great opportunity to participate in the continuous discovery of the collective legacy of humankind bringing visitors only positive emotions and helpful information.
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