By Hallie Becker
After being greeted by the lovely staff members and hearing how interested in their work they were, we ascended the grand staircase to see the main exhibit: “The Last Supper in Pompeii.” Crossing the bridge at the top of the stairs and stepping back in time, we were instantly transported into Pompeian society. Statues greeted you as you walked in, preserved food from the ruins lined the hallways, and the setup of the exhibit was super unique in the fact that one of the rooms was set up just like a house in Pompeii. We got to experience and hear about all the secret placement that made the exhibit a unique one such as the fun and interactive competition that is setup at the end of one of the room’s allowing people to make their own ancient recipes. This is a challenge because you are only allowed to use ancient ingredients to help you get in the mindset of a chef from Pompeii. However, my favorite piece on display from the exhibit had to be the Carpe Diem mosaic reminding us all to enjoy the little things in life. When we were finally coming to the end of our magnificent tour from the Ashmolean staff, we found ourselves in the gift shop. I had to restrain myself from buying all of the cute things draped around the shop and it was perfect for upcoming holiday presents.
When we were through with the gift shop, we had worked up an appetite and the rooftop restaurant was ready to feed our hunger. Staring at all the gorgeous sunlight with the openness from the windows lining the outside terrace was a treat in itself and then we got to try the food. The food was all prepared to perfection with having appetizers, main courses, and my absolute favorite, the dessert. The options we received specifically for dessert were poached pears and vegan chocolate mousse. I have never tried a poached pear and vegan chocolate mousse before and I can honestly say the experience was not a letdown. They were a light and nice completion to a delicious meal and a wonderful day.
Overall, the Ashmolean surprised me with how the setup was very unique and engrossing to the viewer. I have been in a multitude of museums and this experience was very different because of the personalization that the staff made, the cohesion of the exhibit with the food, and the atmosphere due to every little detail. So, the next time you want something fun to do, the Ashmolean should be made a priority because around every corner and up every level you can find something captivating.