Escape from Pompeii

The Untold Roman Rescue

Escape from Pompeii The Untold Roman Rescue

International exhibition featuring 2,000 year old artefacts from Pompeii, Sicily, Naples and Rome.

Book now & save
  • About



    All the world knows the legend of Pompeii. In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, spewing huge waves of volcanic ash over the Bay of Naples.

    One of Rome's greatest writers and scientists, Pliny the Elder, was stationed across the water from Pompeii at Misenum. Not just a great scholar - he was the military commander of Misenum's strategic naval base. He ordered a fleet of warships to rescue as many people as possible from the doomed city.

    So began one of the first recorded rescues by sea of civilians by a military force. Discover the untold story of Pompeii.


    The exhibition features more than a hundred objects from Pompeii and Herculaneum, the cities obliterated by the volcano, and from shipwrecks in the area. You'll be able to see some of the most famous objects from antiquity, first hand.

    This world-class exhibition reveals how the Roman navy came to dominate the Mediterranean, and how this control created a boom in maritime trade not seen again for a thousand years.


    Objects displayed in Escape from Pompeii  include jewellery, ceramics, sculptures and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum; even a bronze rostrum (ram) from a shipwrecked warship. The haunting bodycasts of Pompeiians, trapped forever in their final moments, have pride of place.

    This extraordinary collection of objects has been enhanced by interactive multimedia and 3D animation to recreate that fateful day in 79AD – from everyday life in the Roman world to the full force and fury of Vesuvius.


    Children dressed up as Romans

    Tie on your togas and TRAVEL BACK IN TIME to the heyday of the Roman Empire these school holidays with activities, performances, art making, tours, creative workshops and more to enjoy! Pompeii Kids activities


    A still from the 3D movie a day in Pompeii before eruption

    A Day in Pompeii is a 3D rendering of the final days of Pompeii, following the exact timetable of events, showing you what it was like living those final hours under the shadow of an erupting Mount Vesuvius.


    A group of school children on endeavour

    An extraordinary opportunity for teachers and students, Escape from Pompeii covers key areas of the History Syllabus, both for NSW and nationally, with a series of targeted education programs being developed to accompany the exhibition. See Our Pompeii: School Excursions Page for more information. You can also enquire about the museum's educational programs by contacting bookings@anmm.gov.au

    Ticket Information

    Escape from Pompeii: The Untold Roman Rescue

    Will be open daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 31 March to 30 August 2017.

    Eventbrite - Pompeii Big Ticket

    Pre-purchase your ticket online before 31 March to receive 20% off.

    This is a Big Ticket purchase, which provides you with access to this exhibition, as well as all other areas of the museum, including all vessels and exhibitions.

    Roman Inspired Menu

    Fish and chips, Pompeii book

    Grab a bite to eat at Yots Café with their Roman inspired menu.

    POMPEII at our Store

    The Complete Pompeii book cover

    Delve further into histories most famous archaeological site with a selection of books and DVDs available at our online store or when you visit the exhibition.

    Before you visit, download our App, which includes audio tours, images and information that brings the Maritime Museum to life. It's free, and constantly being updated.

    You can visit our Admissions page for complete price information and to book your tickets.

    Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.

    Become a member and save

    Become a Maritime Museum Member and receive FREE or discounted entry to all our events and exhibitions, as well as many other benefits.

    Keep in touch

    Receive our e-newsletters for the latest news including special offers, advance bookings, sneak previews and more.

    Connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates and to join the conversation.

    Escape from Pompeii is developed by the Australian National Maritime Museum in association with Expona and Contemporanea Progetti.  

    Developed with

    expona logo contemporanea logo

    Media Partner

    Media Sponsor

    Channel 9 logo Foxtel History channel logo

    Media Supporter


    La Fiamma Italian Bi-weekly newspaper
    Rete Italia The Italian radio in Australia

    Catering Partner

    Exhibition Supporter

    Laissez-faire catering logo
    Singapore Airlines logo

    Supported by

    City of Sydney 2030 logo Institute of Italian Culture Sydney logo
    Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia inc logo Co.As.It. logo
    Panasonic Logo
    Cast of two women from the House of the Cryptoporticus, Pompeii. © Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismoCast of a victim, possibly a woman, Pompeii. © Ministero dei Beni Culturali e del Turismo - Museo Archeologico di NapoliCast of a pig, Villa Regina, Boscoreale. © Soprintendenza Archeologica di PompeiLoaf of bread from Herculaneum carbonised by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.  79 AD.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale di NapoliBracelet, in the form of a snake, from Pompeii.  Gold, 1st century AD.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli Fresco of Narcissus from Pompeii.  1st century AD.  Museo Archeologico Nazionale di NapoliPlate found with fruit seeds from the Roman port of Ostia.  4th century AD. Scavi di Ostia AnticaPompeii Diorama Pliny the Elder  The Roman Naval Base at Misenum, around 1 pm, 24 August 79 AD  Diorama by Geoff Barnes and Roger Scott Pompeii Diorama Merchant Ship - The Roman Naval Base at Misenum, around 1 pm, 24 August 79 AD  Diorama by Geoff Barnes and Roger Scott
  • Trireme


    Triremes were the standard warship of the ancient Mediterranean world for nine hundred years from the 5th BC to the 4th AD. Triremes had three banks (remes) of rowers on each side, hence the name. 170 rowers were required, in addition there was a flute player to keep them in time, 10 sailors and 5 officers. The metal ram (rostrum) at the bow of the trireme was the primary weapon used to disable and sink enemy ships. 

    The complement of soldiers on board was quite small, 10 armoured spearmen (hoplites) and 4 archers. In its sea trials OLYMPIAS proved fast and highly maneuverable attaining a speed of 17km per hour and able to perform a 180 degree turn within one minute. The OLYMPIAS is on loan from the Hellenic Maritime Museum and will be on display at the museum in conjunction with the exhibition Escape from Pompeii – The Untold Roman Rescue, until the end of August 2017.  

    Scale model of the full size operating replica of the Athenian trireme OLYMPIAS 5th century BC, commissioned into the Greek Navy in 1987.

    Scale model of the full size operating replica of the Athenian trireme OLYMPIAS 5th century BC, commissioned into the Greek Navy in 1987.

    All this has been made possible with the kind support of the following "Friends of the Trireme":

    AHEPA NSW logo The Grace Sydney Groupama Logo
    Pan-Arcadian Logo Lakonia Group Logo Singapore Airlines logo
  • Grab a bite

    Grab a bite

    Selection of meals available from Yots to compliment Escape from Pompeii


    View our Pompeii inspired KidsFood and Drink Menus.

  • Lenders


    With thanks to the museums who have lent objects.

    Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli 

    Parco Archeologico dei Campi Flegrei 

    Soprintendenza Speciale di Pompei 

    Museo della Nave di Comacchio 

    Soprintendenza del Mare 

    Australian Centre of Ancient Numismatics Studies 

    Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University 

    Nicholson Museum, Sydney University Museums