A revamped display case in our Roman gallery
As senior curator for the Roman collections, I had the wonderful job of looking at what was currently on display and then doing a bit of research to see what else we had in our collections that could be added to the existing display. The Temple of Mithras area in the gallery comprises an apsidal (semi-circular) large alcove designed to reflect the original apsidal end of the temple, complete with pillars, and a built-in case to one side of the alcove. This case contained a large box-like structure, centrally placed, which contained a Pepper’s Ghost – an optical illusion that allowed the viewer to see a model of the ruined temple, which then morphed into a model of what the temple would have looked like in use in the Roman period.
Whilst this was a fun feature, its box-like construction dominated the case and took up most of the display space. Thanks to the wonderful reconstruction now on show in at Bloomberg Space, I felt that we no longer needed to have this model reconstruction. In addition, the Pepper’s Ghost so dominated the space that the objects in there, including some very fine sculptural pieces were essentially pushed to the edges of the case and were, in some cases not very visible for visitors. These fabulous sculptures now take centre stage in the display, surrounded by other objects from our Roman collections that tell the story of the Mithraic cult.