The Museum of the Ancient Roman Soldier opened to a small crowd during its first major exhibition at the Karpeles Library Manuscript Museum in downtown Santa Barbara this weekend.
The museum hosted its grand opening Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. and featured Roman weaponry, clothing and armor. Museum officials also dressed in outfits replicating traditional Roman attire.
Museum director and curator Dr. L. Arik Greenberg said the exhibit connects the historical ties between ancient Rome and modern culture.
“Western civilization owes a lot of its heritage from Ancient Rome,” Greenberg said. “The American legal system, government and even some of our language all comes from Rome. … They even proposed the existence of the atom, believing things are made of smaller particles.”
Museum employees greeted guests with wine and food. Greenberg said all costumed staff either created their own attire or purchased accurate reproductions.
“We try to make everything ourselves,” Greenberg said. “We use wool instead of polyester and make our own footwear … everything else is made by a company in India who has been making armor for hundreds of years.”
Greenberg said the museum is looking for a permanent location for the exhibit.
“We want to set up a Roman-style living museum, an ancient Roman style Colonel Williamsburg,” Greenberg said. “It would be located in Southern California on an 80 to 100 acre plot, allowing us to perform reenactments and other activities.”
Fourth-year economics major Taylor Grosso said the exhibit provided a unique educational experience.
“It is really cool having a living, breathing museum exhibit, especially one so unique,” Grosso said.
The exhibit will stay at the Karpeles Library Manuscript Museum located at 21 West Anapamu Street until the end of December.