Is “Pompeii: The Exhibition” Good for Kids? We Explored the Museum of Science and Industry’s New Exhibit to Find Out

Indoor Places to GofallPlaces to Gospringsummerwinter

The Museum of Science and Industry’s new Pompeii: The Exhibition brings guests back to the ancient Roman city like never before. Filled with over 155 artifacts including weaponry, frescos, statues, fountain spouts, dining utensils, and more, visitors are immersed in the culture of Pompeii that was destroyed by the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. These items were preserved in the volcanic ash that buried them. As more items are recovered, historians are better able to understand the cultural of ancient Rome. This exhibit is separated into two galleries, so make sure to visit the second hall on your trip through Pompeii: The Exhibition.

We saw a replica of a Pompeiian home, casts of bodies found in the ash, and watched a 4D simulation of the volcano eruption. While full of works of art and other artifacts, each gallery of this exhibit featured an interactive area with museum staff. In the first gallery, we tried to reassemble pieces of a broken fresco, just as archeologists are being asked to do with their findings.

In the second gallery, we created our own city near volcanoes and learned about modern-day instruments now used to detect volcanic activity.

An important note to visitors: there is a small room at the end of the first gallery that is not suitable for children. There is signage warning visitors, but any one not interested in viewing this adults-only content can simply walk past the room.

If your child is sensitive to topics about natural disasters and death, I would discuss some of these ideas in advance. Before we went, I read the description of the exhibit on MSI’s website to my children, so they were prepared for some of the information we read throughout the exhibit hall.

This exhibit is a great stop for the tween and teenage history lovers in your family (and adults, too!). My 9-year old learned more about ancient Roman culture and their rituals, saw works of art, and compared their drinking vessels to the ones we use today. We spoke about modern technology and how these developments are intended to help us understand and prepare for natural disasters.

Free Days at Museum of Science and Industry Chicago

MSI offers free days throughout the year for Illinois residents with ID. Dates subject to change, so please check their website before heading to the city. The following dates have been announced for the remainder of 2023:

  • March: 1, 6, 14
  • April : 18, 22
  • May: 4, 9, 17, 18
  • June: 1, 6, 7
  • August: 22, 28, 29
  • September: 5, 6, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, 20, 26
  • October: 4, 5, 9, 16, 17
  • November: 1, 8

Advance ticket reservations are no longer required, but you can book tickets online at to ensure admission. Visit procedures and safety details can be found at Note: on Illinois resident free days, admission to most permanent and some temporary exhibits is included. For special exhibits, such as “Pompeii: The Exhibition”, an additional fee is charged.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Interested in more Chicago area museums? We put together a list of the best museums to visit with your family along with age recommendations for each!
Thinking about getting a museum membership? We analyzed each museum’s membership program and answered the question: Are museum and zoo memberships worth it?
You also might be interested in STEAM and STEM Classes for Kids.

Best Exhibits at Museum of Science and Industry

While you are there, be sure to check out our favorites, all included in the basic museum entry ticket! Go to the next page to keep reading.

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