Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life
Instantly recognizable by his trident and accompanied by fish and dolphins,
Poseidon — like his Roman counterpart Neptune — is characterized by his sturdy build, thick wavy hair, and full beard. He looms large in Greek mythology as a central figure in the battle between the Olympian gods that brought order to the world and the monstrous race of Giants that threatened to overthrow them and create havoc. With power over not only the sea but also horses and natural phenomena from floods to earthquakes, Poseidon carried great importance throughout the ancient world. His most famous sanctuary was at Isthmia, but he was also worshipped at landlocked sanctuaries. Votive offerings were meant to illuminate and impress — from a small bronze horse, to schools of lead fish, to representations of the god himself. Poseidon appears frequently on vases made in ancient Athens, where the sea god and his son Theseus aided in the historic defeat of invading Persian forces, saving the city. The exhibition also includes a monumental bronze trident over a dozen feet long that is believed to have accompanied a colossal statue of the god that is now lost.

Beyond mythology and religion, however, the sea was the center of daily life in towns and cities along the coast of the Mediterranean. It provided food and other resources, and allowed for easy travel and trade. But the sea was also fraught with danger, and merchants plying the water were always on the alert for threatening weather, pirates, and the terrible dwellers of the deep. Allusions to the sea are found throughout ancient art, from cargo boats to warships, and dolphins, fish, and octopi. Blurring the line between art and artifact, visitors will discover illustrations of fishermen and shipbuilders alongside fish hooks and ship models, bringing the world of antiquities to life.

Poseidon and the Sea
offers an intimate look at not only the mysteries of the ancient world, but at the timeless beauty and wonder of the sea that continues to resonate with us in the present day. A catalogue with essays by leading scholars accompanies the exhibition, organized by the Tampa Museum of Art, with loans of artwork from major public
and private collections in the United States and Europe.


What's Pictured: (Left) Statue of Poseidon/Neptune alongside dolphin, Roman, 1st century AD (after Classical Greek original), marble, Tampa Museum of Art, Joseph Veach Noble Collection 1986.135; Photo courtesy of lender.



Hours, Tickets, & Tours

Poseidon and the Sea is open during all regular Museum hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday*, 10 am to 4 pm; Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm. Closed Monday and major holidays.
*New in 2014! Joslyn is now open two hours earlier on Sundays.

Poseidon and the Sea is a ticketed exhibition:
General public adults: $10
(Thursday evening pricing, 4-8 pm: $5 for general public adults)
Youth ages 17 and younger: Free
College students with ID: Free
Joslyn Members: Free

All visitors, including members, must obtain a ticket for entrance to the exhibition (no reservations necessary).


Programs with visits to the exhibition will be priced accordingly for general public adults.

Docent-guided tours of the exhibition are offered on select Wednesdays at 1 pm, Thursdays at 6:30 pm, Saturdays at 10:30 am, and Sundays at 1 pm. Check the calendar of events for exact tour dates. Poseidon and the Sea ticket pricing applies.

Mobile Poseidon

Free Wi-Fi is available in all Joslyn galleries. Bring your web-enabled mobile device or borrow one of ours to access the exhibition mobile tour presented by Joslyn and OnCell. Call (402) 881-3601 to access the tour in English; (402) 972-4031 for the Spanish language tour. Tour access information also available on site and on the Museum's mobile tour page.




Exhibition-Related Events & Programs


Friday, February 7 @ 6:30 pm
Joslyn Art Museum Association Annual Gala presented by US Bank
The Joslyn Art Museum Association (JAMA) hosts this gala preview of Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life. Honorary chairs are Beverly and Harold Maurer, M.D. Co-chairmen are JAMA’s Phyllis Choat and Karen Nelsen. JAMA President is Jeanie Jones. The evening includes exhibition viewing and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Scott Pavilion gallery spaces at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner at 7:30 pm “under the stars” in the ConAgra Foods Atrium. Dancers from Ballet Nebraska will add mystery and beauty to the occasion. Individual tickets are $175 (Patron tickets $350, Benefactor tickets $500). Join us for this celebration of art and the sea! Call (402) 661-3821 to make reservations (deadline is January 31).


Saturday, February 8; 6–8 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm)
Members Opening 
Joslyn members are invited for this private, opening day Poseidon and the Sea event. At 6 pm, join Seth D. Pevnick, Ph.D., Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Tampa Museum of Art, for an overview of the exhibition. The presentation will be followed by gallery viewing, live music, complimentary light hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. Invitations will be mailed to Museum members with reservation/attendance information. Not a member? Join now!


Friday, February 14; 6–8 pm
A Valentine's Day Fit for the Gods
A special evening featuring cocktails, Greek-inspired hors d’oeuvres, and the magical, ethereal love songs of harpist Kim Meyers. A tour of the Poseidon and the Sea exhibition is included! Follow the link above for details, pricing, and reservations (required).


Thursdays, March 6 & April 24 @ 6:30 pm
Late 'til 8 Gallery Talks with Creighton University's Erin Walcek Averett, Ph.D., Joslyn's Adjunct Curator of Antiquities. Tickets: $5 general public adults; free for Joslyn members, Creighton University students and faculty with ID, and all other college students with ID. 


Thursday, April 10 @ 7 pm (cash bar @ 6 pm)
Public Lecture by Katherine Rinne
In celebration of Poseidon and the Sea, Creighton University (CU), in partnership with Joslyn, presents Katherine Rinne, author of the award-winning The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City. Her talk, held in Joslyn’s Witherspoon Concert Hall, is the 2014 McCormick Lecture in Art History sponsored by CU’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts. Admission to the lecture is free. Tickets to the Poseidon and the Sea exhibition: $5 general public adults; free for Joslyn members, Creighton University students and faculty with ID, and all other college students with ID.


Sunday, April 13; 1–4 pm
Family Fun Day
A kid-friendly foray into the ancient world, including seeing a real wood-fueled kiln firing pottery as it was done thousands of years ago. Family Fun Day is supported in part by the Joslyn Art Museum Association.
Admission to the event is free. Tickets to Poseidon and the Sea during the event: free for Joslyn members; $5 for general public adults; youth ages 17 and younger & college students with ID are free.


Friday, May 2 @ 8 pm
Ballet Nebraska's Momentum
Save the date for this mixed repertory program that includes a new work inspired by Poseidon and the Sea. Details and ticket information coming soon!


Sunday, May 11 @ 10 am (doors open at 9:45 am)
Rise & Shine Mother's Day Breakfast
Treat your mom like a goddess with a buffet breakfast in the Storz Fountain Court on her special day. A tour of the Poseidon and the Sea exhibition is included! Follow the link above for details, pricing, and reservations (required).


Many regularly scheduled programs will be presented with a nod to Poseidon and the Sea. Check these listings and follow the links for details:
  • CU at Joslyn public lecture (Sunday, February 16 @ 2 pm): "The Power of Water in Early Christian Art" with Gregory Bucher, Classical and Near Eastern Studies. Free for Joslyn members and Creighton students and faculty with ID. $5 for General Public Adults (includes Poseidon and the Sea exhibition ticket).

  • Story Adventures Free drop-in gallery reading program (Tuesday, February 18 @ 10:30 am features Poseidon and the Sea)

  • Stroller Tours (Wednesday, February 19 @ 9:15 am features the Poseidon and the Sea exhibition; this program for adults with small children requires advance registration and payment at the door: Free for Members and infants/toddlers; $10 General Public Adults on February 19 (all other sessions $5 for General Public Adults); click the Stroller Tours link to register)
  • Art Encounters (Thursday, February 20 @ 10:30 am features Poseidon and the Sea). $5 for General Public Adults on February 20; free for Joslyn members and members of The Nebraska Medical Center's Health and Wellness Club.

  • Saturday Surprise! Free drop-in art-making program (10 am–noon) will feature Poseidon and the Sea March 8 and 22 (activity hint: Smells fishy)
  • Visualizing Literature (Tuesday, March 11 @ 10:30 am and Thursday, March 13 @ 6 pm feature Poseidon and the Sea and the book The King Must Die by Mary Renault. $5 for General Public Adults (includes Poseidon and the Sea); Free for Joslyn members and The Nebraska Medical Center's Health & Wellness Club members.

  • Archaeological Institute of America public lecture (Sunday, April 6 @ 2 pm): "Underwater Archaeology: The New Holy Grail" with Bridget Buxton, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island. Lecture is free. Those wishing to visit Poseidon and the Sea may purchase tickets at the regular prices (see above).
  • Saturday Surprise! Free drop-in art-making program (10 am–noon) will feature Poseidon and the Sea April 5 and 19 (activity hint: water!)

  • Art Packs (newly updated Myths & Monsters Art Pack for free checkout!)