Virtual Family Day: Ancient Art Adventures
Welcome to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s first virtual family day! We are excited for you to get to know the exhibition Bacchus Conservation Project: The Story of a Sculpture by learning, watching, and creating at your own pace. Scroll down to discover activities for the whole family.
Take a Virtual Visit to the Exhibition!
This exhibition tells the story of a decades-long project to conserve and restore a sculpture of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Museum staff discovered that although the sculpture looks very old, parts of it were ancient, and parts had been added much later to create a whole statue from different bits! This is called a composite sculpture.
Create on Your Own: Composite Sculpture Collage
Make a fantastical figure from images you discover from different sources by following along with this project from artist Thea Howell. You’ll find images from the NCMA collection below if you’d like to include them. Get the instructions here.
Who Is Bacchus?
The Statue of Bacchus depicts the Roman god of wine (also known as Dionysus by the Greeks). You can identify him by the grapes held in his right hand, the leaves and berries in his hair, and the cup in his left hand.
Cooking with a Curator
In ancient Rome Bacchus was worshipped at annual festivals during which followers celebrated the cycle of nature, hosted dramatic performances, and, of course, enjoyed lots of food and wine. To learn more follow along with Curator of Ancient Art Caroline Rocheleau as she cooks a festive ancient Roman recipe and discusses how important research is to her understanding of the statue.
If you’d like to make your own version of this dish or any of the other recipes Caroline mentioned, you can find them here.
Create on Your Own: Soft-Sculpture Grapes
Now that we’ve whetted your appetite, make your own food-inspired sculpture to celebrate the god of wine! Build a bunch of decorative grapes by following along with this project from artist Taylor McGee. Find the instructions here.
What did we discover about the Statue of Bacchus?
Bacchus is a composite sculpture, which means his form was put together from parts that were created in different centuries from marble around the Mediterranean. Through marble analysis we learned that his torso is carved in marble from Turkey, while the marble for his head came from Greece. His arm is brand new! A local artist created it from scratch in 2019.
While the statue appears to be one complete piece now, the Museum’s conservation team took it apart and put it back together to conduct their research. Learn more about how they did this safely with this smashingly fun video from Corey Riley, the Museum’s objects conservator.
Create on Your Own: Marbleized Wreaths
Make a wreath inspired by the different types of marble that make up the Statue of Bacchus. Follow along with this project by artist Sarah Whitney to learn how to transform clay into a wreath fit for the gods. Find the instructions here.
Are There Other Gods and Goddesses at the Museum?
Yes! Greek and Roman mythology is a whole world filled with dramatic stories and distinct characters. These myths have provided inspiration for artists from ancient times until the present! Play this matching game to discover some of the other Greek and Roman gods and goddesses you might encounter at the Museum.
Want to discover more about the world of Greek and Roman mythology? There are lots of books to read about ancient history and mythology. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Goddess Power: A Kids’ Book of Greek and Roman Mythology: 10 Empowering Tales of Legendary Women by Yung In Chae, illustrated by Alida Massari. Follow the Greek and Roman goddesses on their adventures, complete with challenges and triumphs! Get acquainted with the strong, unique, and complex goddesses from Greek and Roman mythology. This beautifully illustrated book also includes a creature encyclopedia and pronunciation guide.
- What Do We Know about the Romans? by Mike Corbishley. This book is a visual introduction to daily life in ancient Rome. What did the Romans wear? What did they eat? What was school like for kids? Borrow this book free with your North Carolina Library card.
- Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children by Heather Amery, illustrated by Linda Edwards. Learn more about Bacchus and the other gods and goddesses in his world. Plus, read the adventures of heroes and monsters alongside playful illustrations. Borrow this book free with your North Carolina Library card.
Thank you for joining us for our first virtual family day! Tell us what you thought by completing this survey.
Learn more about other upcoming virtual events for families!