Objects from Rome and Pompeii set to feature in exciting new Chester exhibition
Key details on an exhibition to be hosted at the Grosvenor Museum in summer 2016 have been revealed this week, with archaeological treasures from Rome and Pompeii amongst objects which will tell the story of health and medicine in the Roman world.
The exhibit, entitled “In Good Humour: Disease, Doctors and Dying in the Roman World” launches in July 2016, and has been organised by award-winning heritage agency, Big Heritage, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester’s curation team at the Grosvenor Museum. It will see a number of internationally important objects loaned to the city’s museum, and will be supported by a series of outreach events including street theatre, surgical re-enactment and object displays popping up in medical venues throughout the city region.
The display will explore social attitudes to disease, illness and injury in the Roman world, as well as highlighting the lasting impact Rome had upon ideas of hygiene, public health and medicine. The project has seen partnership development with the University of Roma amongst others.
The event is the idea of Chester-based Big Heritage – who were the organisers of the popular Chester Unlocked and Dig Blacon projects in 2015. Company founder Dean Paton said, “We have been running a project focussing on Roman medicine and supported by Wellcome Trust for a number of years, but this exhibition will allow us to tell that story through a static display of some stunning artefacts. We have worked extremely hard alongside Cheshire West and Chester council museum staff to convince the right people that Chester is the city to host this event. We are heading out to the University of Rome in the Spring to work with their staff and collections, with some jaw-dropping objects coming back to Chester with us.”
Alongside international objects, there is a strong Chester narrative to the display, with Big Heritage funding scientific analysis of the Castle Well skeleton, a Roman man whose body was discovered by archaeologists in the 1970s. Whilst details of the results are being kept secret until the launch, they have been described as “exciting and unexpected.”
Cllr Louise Gittins said “This is an incredibly exciting exhibition for the city, and the Grosvenor Museum staff have worked very hard behind the scenes with Big Heritage to make this happen. Beyond the museum display, there are a number of engaging plans in place to take the exhibition to the streets of Chester and beyond.”
The exhibit opens on the evening of 7th July, with Dr Ralph Jackson, a world-leading Roman medicine expert from the British Museum giving a special lecture to an invited audience including local high-school pupils who are taking GCSEs in the History of Medicine.