British Museum launches app for Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

Available from 18 April at the Apple Store and 2 May at Android app stores

The British Museum has developed an app for tablets and smartphones to support the critically acclaimed exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum sponsored by Goldman Sachs – equally designed for those who experience the exhibition, or for people around the world who are not able to visit London. Using interactive maps of the region and a timeline of the eruption, users will be able to explore the objects and themes of the exhibition, and immerse themselves in the life and death of the two cities on their tablet or smartphone. The app will feature exclusive video footage including interviews with the curator and contributions from special guests. The app will be available on the Apple and Android app stores.

After a short introductory video, the app offers the user a map of the Bay of Naples, with three main areas to explore – the two cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the volcano, Vesuvius.

Immerse yourself in the life of the two Roman cities
Touching on Pompeii or Herculaneum on the map takes the user through to the street plans, on which are plotted over 250 of the key objects featured in the exhibition. Users will be able to filter objects and their background information by theme; urban context, commerce, religion and beliefs, wealth and status, grooming and adornment, relaxing in luxury, entertaining, food and drink. Touching an object marker leads through to more information about the object and fully-zoomable high resolution images.

Each of the eight themes has an exclusive video introduction by the exhibition curator, Paul Roberts. A selection of star objects is accompanied by audio commentary from experts in Roman history: Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Director of Research, both at the University of Cambridge, and Amanda Claridge, Professor of Roman Archaeology at Royal Holloway.

Browse an interactive timeline of the eruption story
Users can touch on the marker for Vesuvius to activate the interactive timeline that plots the devastating progress of the volcano in the 24 hours of the eruption. Based on an artist’s impression of a typical street in both Pompeii and Herculaneum, the viewpoint shifts between the two cities as time progresses. An immersive soundscape brings the animation to life and illustrates how the two cities and their inhabitants met their end. Specially recorded excerpts from the first-hand account of Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption, provide the narrative.

At each key point in the timeline users can access additional information about the volcano and the eruption, the people who died, and the objects recovered from the sites 1,700 years later.

Users can follow the story after the eruption, exploring the re-discovery and excavation of the two cities, recent archaeology and the development of the British Museum exhibition itself.

Curator of the exhibition Paul Roberts

‘We are delighted to invite tablet and smartphone users all over the world to explore the content of our Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition. Good clear explanations and beautiful, detailed images of the remarkable objects offer an exciting opportunity to investigate the stories of these cities in the palm of your hand.’

Garry Partington, CEO of Apadmi, developers of the app

‘We have been developing award winning apps for a number of years for major brands such as BT, Aviva, Visit Britain and the incredibly popular BBC iPlayer Radio app. Press Release British Museum launches app for Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum Available from 18 April at the Apple Store and 2 May at Android app stores However, to have been commissioned by one of the world’s great cultural institutions, The British Museum, to develop such an innovative, content-rich and interactive app, is a genuine honour.

With zoomable high resolution images of over 250 artefacts, detailed maps, video clips, audio tracks and an animated timeline of the eruption, the app transports the user to the heart of the life and times of the people of the Roman cities and gives a unique insight into the destruction caused by the eruption of Vesuvius.’

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum app

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum app

Notes to Editors:

The Pompeii app is available in the Apple store for iPad (£3.99) and iPhone (£1.99) and on Google Play for selected Android phones (£1.99).

The app was developed for the British Museum by Apadmi Ltd, who have been designing, and developing innovative apps for 14 years. Recent apps include the BBC Radio iPlayer iPhone app.

Media Enquiries for Apadmi:

SKV Communications
44 (0) 161 838 7770

For more information and links to download the app

Details of devices and Operating Systems
iPhone 4, 4S and 5 (iOS 5 – 6.1)
iPad 2, 3, 4 (iOS 5 – 6.1)
Samsung Galaxy SII (Android 2.3 - 4.1)
Samsung Galaxy SIII (Android 4.04 – 4.1)
LG Google Nexus 4, (Android 4.2 – 4.2.2)

iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc.

Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum

Reading Room 28 March – 29 September 2013

This exhibition will be the first ever held on the subject in the British Museum, and the first major exhibition in London for almost 40 years. The exhibition will bring together many fascinating objects, both recent discoveries and celebrated finds from earlier excavations. Unlike previous exhibitions, its focus will not be on the sites as a whole, but on the archaeology of the home and the lives of the people who lived there.

The exhibition will transport visitors to the heart of the life and times of the people of the Roman cities Pompeii and Herculaneum. From the bustling street through to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, looking at daily Roman life prior to the devastating volcanic eruption of nearly 2000 years ago, and give some perspective on the domestic context for the objects. No other exhibition on Pompeii has been attempted this on a similar scale; the focus will be on the ordinary Roman and the realities of home-life and, uniquely, will include material from both Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Sponsored by Goldman Sachs
In collaboration with Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei

Admission charge £15 plus a range of concessions. Tickets can be booked online at or 020 7323 8181. Opening hours 10.00–17.30 Saturday to Thursday and 10.00–20.30 Fridays

Special ticket offers:

£1 Jobseeker tickets – For the first time the British Museum is able to offer a jobseekers ticket for £1 thanks to the generosity of Goldman Sachs. Jobseeker tickets are available at £1 on Mondays 12.00 – 16.30, the same time slot as Senior tickets are available half price at £7.50.

Mumsnet event (21 May) – In partnership with Mumsnet the British Museum is running its first dedicated morning especially for parents, babies and young children to enjoy the exhibition . Family groups are welcome at any time but this will be the first time slot allocated to this audience to enjoy the exhibition alongside other young families.

Public programme special guest curators:

Curatored and chaired by either Mary Beard or Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, both of Cambridge University, the evening lecture programme will explore the history of these Ancient Roman cities and what they mean to us today. Lectures will include guest speakers such as author Robert Harris, journalist David Aaronovitch and comedian Natalie Haynes. The public programme will also include free lunchtime lectures and gallery talks, performance and workshops, film screenings, an extensive school and community programmes and a special Late event:

Up late in Pompeii: a night out in the Bay of Naples, 10 May, 18.00–21.00, free, just drop in. Visitors can try food from the Bay of Naples, drop in on the latest debates raging in the forum and browse through the shops in a Roman street scene. You can also hear readings of Roman love poetry and discover Roman attitudes towards sex.

A full public programme accompanies the exhibition. More information is available from the press office.

Pompeii Live from the British Museum

Cinemas nationwide
18 and 19 June

A unique live broadcast event that will take cinema audiences round the major exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum 28 March – 29 September 2013 in the company of renowned experts and practitioners who, alongside live performance – music, poetry and eye-witness accounts will bring to life extraordinary objects, some never seen outside Italy before. The event will be shown in over 250 cinemas through all the major UK cinema groups including Vue, Cineworld, Picturehouse, Empire, Curzon and Odeon as well as independent venues across the UK. Tickets go on sale in cinemas on 28 March.

For schools:

The British Museum also plans to follow the adult premiere on 18 June with another first: Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, a live transmission for school children across on 19 June also from the British Museum and aimed at Key Stage 2 and 3. Schools all over the UK will have the opportunity to visit their local cinema for a fun, interactive show which will enhance cross curriculum learning.

An accompanying publication is available from March 2013 by British Museum Press: Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum, by Paul Roberts. A magnificent illustrated book offering a unique perspective on the everyday lives of the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Hardback, £45, paperback £25.

A smaller gift book will also be available from March 2013 by British Museum Press: Art in Pompeii and Herculaneum, by Paul Roberts with Vanessa Baldwin. With stunning details of frescoes, mosaics, sculpture, jewellery, glass and silverware, this little book provides an enchanting taste of a variety of art from these two cities. Paperback, £6.99.

For further information:

Please contact Brunswick Arts on +44 (0)207 936 1290

Or the Press Office on +44 (0)20 7323 8583 / 8394 or

For high resolution images register for free at and find the British Museum under Arts

For public information please print or +44 (0)20 7323 8181