The Ashmolean Museum’s latest blockbuster show, Last Supper in Pompeii, is pulling in crowds to one of the greatest exhibitions in its long history.

The show features items loaned by museums in Naples and Pompeii and surrounding sites – some which have never before left Italy. It tells the story of Roman life on the Bay of Naples and the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum through the medium of food and drink – what the people ate and the significance of gastronomy, agriculture and viticulture in their day-to-day lives and religious beliefs.

To celebrate the museum’s passion for all things Roman, it will be keeping doors open after hours tonight for After Hours: Carpe Diem! and inviting visitors to enjoy performances, music, crafts, demonstrations and bite-sized talks.

Read more: Come face to face with treasures of Pompeii in unique Oxford show

The event is organised in collaboration with TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) as part of the Humanities Cultural Programme. Highlights include mini lectures, artifact handling and the chance to meet the museum’s team of researchers.

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Visitors can take a guided tour around ancient Rome with expert Dr Matthew Nicholls, using his detailed and award-winning 3D digital model of the city.

We can also learn how different volcanic elements of the eruption of Vesuvius affected the doomed city of Pompeii – from the earthquakes acting as a warning prior to the event, through to the burial of the city.

The most poignant remains of Pompeii are the casts of those who perished. They include the haunting Resin Lady who is in the exhibition (the only cast to be allowed to travel outside Italy). Conservators Alex Baldwin and Stephen Ward will give a demonstration of casting plaster from moulds to show how excavators at Pompeii recreated human figures from the voids in the volcanic ash.

Read more: A delicious taste of Ancient Rome at the Ashmolean Museum

For a realistic evocation of life in Pompeii, join pupils from Cheney School who will be recreating the sights and sounds of a Roman street market, with activity stalls including jewellery and mosaic-making.

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There will also be performances by Roman street speakers and musicians

For the foodie, there is a chance to discover the whiffs and wonders of wining and dining in Pompeii, with its heady scents of spiced wine, crusty loaves and fish sauce, all of which will be demonstrated by Dr Paula Lock. Then you can show off your talents by joining a sketching Roman artifacts.

Roman enactors will wander the galleries, while, in the atrium, there will be music from harpist Jane Coulcher, and the Ozymandias String Trio.

After Hours: Carpe Diem!

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Tonight, 5-8pm