April 6, 2020
To quote AIA-Spokane Society President Professor Andrew Goldman, “Pompeii was a disaster, but our lecture series needn’t be!” When a local museum, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC), announced it would be holding an exhibition entitled Pompeii: The Immortal City, the AIA-Spokane Society decided to embrace this opportunity as the theme for their spring programing. The society organized a dozen lectures on archaeological topics related to Pompeii and the lives of the people who lived there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the ancient city in 79 CE. The scheduled lecturers were to include two presenters sent by the AIA main office, as part of the AIA National Lecture Program, with the other lectures chosen and sponsored by the AIA-Spokane Society, who also partnered with Gonzaga University. The spring lecture series began with packed audiences eager to learn about Pompeii and the travelling exhibition, and the upcoming events and lectures of Pompeii Day in mid-April were highly anticipated. By mid-March, however, the coronavirus made it impossible for large public gatherings to take place, including society lectures and special events, and the exhibition itself was temporarily closed. The AIA-Spokane Society’s “Revealing Pompeii” lecture series will go on, however, only now it will proceed as a one-month webinar series rather than in-person lectures.
We commend the AIA-Spokane Society for their hard work in organizing their spring lecture series focused on of the archaeology of Pompeii, and also for adapting their programing so quickly so that they could continue to actively reach out to and engage with their local AIA community via webinar. The AIA also wishes to thank the lecturers able to participate in these webinars. We hope that other AIA Societies will be inspired to try a webinar series or other means of virtually interacting with their local AIA community too. If your society is already engaging in virtual events, we hope you will please let us know.
The AIA-Spokane Society is grateful to both the MAC and to their local donors for their support and generosity to help make their society outreach efforts possible. Information about the AIA-Spokane Society is available on the AIA website and the AIA-Spokane Society Facebook Page. Though the spring webinars have only just begun, they have so far been enthusiastically received. Several of the AIA-Spokane Society’s webinars were temporarily posted to the AIA’s YouTube channel, ArchaeologyTV.