As part of the Kelsey museum’s most grandiose exhibition to date, Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii features over 230 artifacts from the ancient world. These artifacts originate from the ancient villa of Oplontis, an area near Pompeii that was destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted.
The traveling exhibit explores the lavish lifestyle and economic interests of ancient Rome’s wealthiest. This location is currently being excavated and is currently off limits to the general public, but as part of the Kelsey’s exhibit, visitors will get to experience the location with the assistance of virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and tablet devices.
The UM3D Lab worked closely with curator Elaine Gazda as well as the Oplontis Project team from the University of Texas to optimize a virtual re-creation for the Oculus Rift & MIDEN and to generate panoramic viewers for tablet devices. The virtual environment uses high resolution photos captured on location, mapped to the surface of 3D models to give a very real sense of being at the real-world location.
Visitors to the Kelsey can not only view the villa as it appears in modern day-they can also toggle on an artist’s re-creation of what the environment would have looked like before its destruction. In the re-created version of the scene, the ornate murals covering the walls of the villa are restored and foliage and ornate statues populate the scene.
Leisure & Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii runs February 19th – May 15, 2016. It will also be shown at the Museum of the Rockies at the Montana Sate University, Bozeman (June 17-December 31, 2016) and the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Massachusetts (February 3-August 13, 2017).