SALT LAKE CITY — The warning “Fragile: Handle with care” on crates full of Pompeii artifacts also sums up the point behind the Leonardo Museum’s new exhibit.
“This is really about the people of Pompeii and the emotions and feelings on their last day,” said Jackie Hoff, who wears her passion for the exhibit on her sleeve.
Hoff travels with the Pompeii exhibition as its registrar, and she says the central theme is how ordinary life ended suddenly — a reminder that every life is fragile and every person deserves care.
“I think people can relate because you wake up, you’re doing your usual thing every morning, and all of a sudden your life is never the same again,” Hoff said, “Ever.”
The idea that in a few terrifying moments on a fall day in AD 79, thousands of lives were extinguished by the seismic forces destroying buildings and the superheated ash and pumice raining down.
“There’s a lot of emotion. The ending is extremely sad,” Hoff said.
A painful reality of archaeology: the sudden end made Pompeii a treasure of history. A first-century Roman city preserved in one moment. A horrible and beautiful three-dimensional snapshot that archaeologists continue to develop and learn from today.
The exhibit at the Leonardo opens Saturday and will cost $24.99 for an adult ticket.