BOZEMAN — The Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University has opened its new exhibition, “Julius Caesar: Military Genius & Mighty Machines.” The exhibition — which is in its Montana premiere — will run through May 13.
The exhibition from Italian artisans The Niccolai Group Artisans of Florence PTY Ltd. includes more than 50 intricately crafted and interactive machines on display. The collection is designed to transport visitors back 2,000 years to a time of mighty heroes and powerful emperors.
Visitors are invited to learn the secrets of the Colosseum and Roman roads, see mighty war machines, catapults and battering rams, construct Roman mosaics, challenge friends to ancient board games, experience the feeling of being a Roman legionnaire in the invincible “tortoise-shell formation,” learn to tell time on ancient sundials and water clocks, use ancient maps to plot a journey from Britannia (Britain) to the Far East and come face to face with fearsome gladiators.
“We strongly believe that the best way to have some fun is to participate using hands-on and interactive exhibits,” said Thomas Rizzo, exhibition director for The Niccolai Group. “This family friendly exhibition is informative and thought-provoking with an emphasis on enjoyment and interaction and offers an entertaining and educational experience for all ages.”
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Rizzo said the exhibition explores world history from the victory of Julius Caesar over the Gauls at the siege of Alesia in 52 B.C. to the transformation of Rome from a republic to an empire.
The Roman imperial period was an era of military ingenuity, significant construction and large-scale technical innovation that brought unprecedented well-being to the far corners of the empire, Rizzo said. Inventions such as the book, glass windows, and long-lasting cement and improvements to shipbuilding and large machinery, such as cranes and milling wheels, continued to provide benefit well past the empire’s end in 47 A.D.
“Part of the Museum of the Rockies’ mission is to bring the world to Montana, and the new Caesar exhibit certainly does that,” said Sheldon McKamey, museum executive director. “These engaging, hands-on exhibits will delight our visitors and members from the Bozeman community and beyond and, we hope, help inspire life-long learning in science, history, culture and art.”
Admission to the museum costs $14.50 for adults, $9.50 for children aged 5-17, $10 for MSU students with a valid ID and $13.50 for seniors age 65 and up. Children ages 4 and under get in free.
Admission enables visitors to see the Caesar exhibition, and it also gives them access to the museum’s other exhibits, including indoor and outdoor regional history exhibits, the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, planetarium shows, educational programs, lectures and more.