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Rome: City and Empire

Events and programs

Join us for a series of special events and programs aimed at bringing Ancient Rome to life while Rome: City and Empire is on show in Canberra.

Painting of a woman's head
Mummy portrait of a woman, Rubaiyat, Egypt, 160–170 CE, encaustic on limewood, 44.4 x 16 x 5.7 cm, 1939,0324.211.

Lecture series

Go behind the scenes and gain insights into one of the greatest empires of the ancient world and the contemporary world of museums.

Cost: $15 adult, $10 concession, $7.50 Museum Friends
Visions Theatre

— Insights into Ancient Rome

Thursday 4 October, 12.30–1.30pm

Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster with a fascination of and passion for ancient history.

Join Bettany as she shares insights into some of the pivotal moments that defined the Roman Empire and established it as the world’s first superpower.

Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)

— Julius Caesar and Bell Shakespeare

Sunday 14 October, 12.30–1.30pm

Join the cast and director from Bell Shakespeare as they discuss their roles in Julius Caesar, a classic tale of treachery, intrigue, power and ambition.

Exclusive Museum Friends offer: lecture plus afternoon tea with the cast $25

Cost: $40 adult (includes exhibition entry), $30 adult (lecture only)
Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)
Visions Theatre

— Roman Discoveries

30 November, 12.30–1.30pm

Join archaeologist Dr J Patrick Greene OBE, FSA, as he shares his experiences working on excavations at Fishbourne Roman Palace, the Roman Baths at Bath and Portchester Castle.

Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)

Statue of a man wearing a toga
Statue of a magistrate, Italy, 70–90 CE (head), early 2nd century CE (body), marble, 241 x 95 x 71 cm, 1973,0302.9.

Special events

— Night at the Museum: Toga party

Friday 19 October, 6–9.30pm

Throw yourself into the world of Ancient Rome with revelry, food and wild entertainment. Join us for a night of music, art, bars and thrills.

Over 18s only, togas optional (clothing required!)

Cost: $25 pre-sale tickets, $18.50 Museum Friends at Eventbrite (fees apply)
$30 at the door, on sale from 6.15pm
Gandel Atrium

— In conversation with ABC RN

Wednesday 5 December, 6–7.30pm

ABC RN’s Richard Fidler leads this conversation about our ongoing fascination with Ancient Rome, with an expert panel including Dr Rhiannon Evans, lecturer at La Trobe University and co-host of the popular podcast, ‘Emperors of Rome’; and The Hon Bob Carr, academic, author and former New South Wales premier.

How did Rome grow from a series of small villages into a mighty empire spanning most of the known world. What was behind Rome’s rise and what led to its fall? What was urban life like for those living in the Eternal City? What were the common beliefs and social attitudes? And what lessons does Ancient Rome have for us today?

Cost: $15 adult, $10 concession, $7.50 Museum Friends
Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)
Gandel Atrium

This event is part of Rome Up Late. Additional costs apply for exhibition entry and film screening

— Rome Up Late

Friday 2 November 2018, Wednesday 5 December 2018, Friday 18 January 2019, 5–10pm

Experience Ancient Rome after dark in an adults-only night of events. Visit the exhibition, grab a drink at the bar, learn some of the grisly details about life in Ancient Rome from our expert speakers and top the night off watching a popular classic film.

Over 18s only, exhibition open 5–8.30pm

Cost: $35 adult, $30 concession, $25 Museum Friends (includes exhibition, lecture and film)
$15 adult, $10 concession, $7.50 Museum Friends (lecture only)

Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)
Gandel Atrium

Talks and tours

— My favourite object

Various dates and times

Join Museum staff for a brief, informal chat about some of their favourite objects on show in Rome: City and Empire. Free with same day exhibition entry; talks run for about 15 minutes

— Audio tours

Illuminate key objects and their stories with our two free audio tours, including one specially for kids. Based on real Roman people and events, these storytelling adventures are voiced by colourful characters and the general tour is narrated by ABC broadcaster and Roman history enthusiast Richard Fidler.

The tours are available for download from the Museum’s app, The Loop, via Google Play or the App Store using our free wi-fi. Hire a device and purchase earbuds at the Information Desk.

Android available on Google Play Available on the App Store

Accessible versions are available through Conexu Foundation’s OpenAccess Tours app.

A brooch
Chatelaine brooch, England, 2nd–3rd century CE, copper alloy and enamel, 10.7 x 4.6 x 1.5 cm, 1991,0701.1.

Family activities

— Roam around Rome family guide

Explore Rome: City and Empire with fun activities for the whole family and be surprised about everyday life in Ancient Rome.

Free with exhibition entry; ask at the Information Desk

— When in Rome spring school holidays

Weekdays 2–5 and 8–12 October
Two sessions daily 10–11.30am and 11.30am–1pm

Help artist Hanna Hoyne recreate colourful Roman interior mosaics, make and take home a Rome craft activity, and uncover what life was like for the Romans.

Activities suitable for all ages, children must be accompanied by an adult

Cost: $10 child, $5 Mkids
Bookings essential: Eventbrite (fees apply)

— Afternoon chill-out zone

Weekdays 2–5 and 8–12 October, 2–3.30pm

Play, read or relax in our Bay Window chill-out zone or try a self-guided activity inspired by Ancient Rome.

Free, drop-in

— When in Rome summer school holidays

Weekdays 7–11 and 14–18 January 2019
Two sessions daily 10.30am–1pm and 2–3.30pm

The fun continues in January! Be inspired by Ancient Rome and join us for morning and afternoon family activities. Costs apply

— Australia Day festival

Saturday 26 January 2019

Enjoy tours, music, dance, demonstrations, workshops, games, food and fun, all inspired by Rome: City and Empire. Free, though costs apply for some activities including Rome exhibition entry.

School programs

Plan your school visit to take advantage of the Museum's Rome: City and Empire school programs, aligned with the Australian Curriculum. Teacher-guided, Museum-guided and after-hours tours are available.

More on school programs

Film series

A film series curated and presented by the National Film and Sound Archives in association with the Museum and the Rome: City and Empire exhibition.

— The Sin Eater (The Order), 2003, rated M

Friday 2 November 2018, 7–8.40pm

Heath Ledger plays a young priest sent to Rome to investigate the troubling death of the head of his order.

Cost: $10
ARC Cinema, National Film and Sound Archives

More information and bookings at NFSA

— Great Beauty, 2013, rated M

Friday 30 November 2018, 7–9.20pm

Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.

ARC Cinema, National Film and Sound Archives

More information and bookings at NFSA

— Nights of Cabiria, 1957, rated M

Saturday 1 December 2018, 4–5.50pm

In Federico Fellini’s Oscar-winning classic, a waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak.

Free, bookings essential
NFSA Theatrette, National Film and Sound Archives

More information and bookings at NFSA

Photos © The Trustees of the British Museum, 2018. All rights reserved