CLEOPATRA EXHIBITION AT CINCINNATI MUSEUM CENTER
The world of Cleopatra VII, which has been lost to the sea and sand for nearly 2,000 years, will surface on February 18 when "Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt" opens its doors at Cincinnati Museum Center (through September 5, 2011). The exhibition features nearly 150 artifacts from Cleopatra's time and takes visitors inside the present-day search for the elusive queen, which extends from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria.
The exhibition is organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM). It features statuary, jewelry, daily items, coins and religious tokens that archaeologists have uncovered from the time surrounding Cleopatra's rule, all of which are visiting the U.S. for the first time. Also on display is a copy of an original papyrus document from Cleopatra's time containing an inscription that scientists believe was written in Cleopatra's own hand.
After Egypt succumbed to Roman forces and Cleopatra famously took her own life following the suicide of her lover Mark Antony, the Romans attempted to wipe her legacy from the pages of history. Cleopatra thus has remained one of history's greatest enigmas, and her final resting place is one of Egypt's unsolved mysteries. The artifacts in this exhibition are woven into the story of her rule and life in ancient Egypt during her dynasty (Ptolemaic period). The story of her life and time unfolds in a dramatic setting with high-definition multimedia and original soundscapes. Additionally, Cleopatra herself provides additional background of the artifacts and personally guides each guest through the exhibition via an audio tour that is included with admission.
Visitors to the exhibition follow the modern-day parallel stories of two ongoing expeditions being led in Egypt by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's pre-eminent archaeologist and minister of state for antiquities affairs, and Franck Goddio, French underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM. Goddio's search has resulted in one of the most ambitious underwater expeditions ever undertaken, which has uncovered Cleopatra's royal palace and the two ancient cities of Canopus and Heracleion, which had been lost beneath the sea after a series of earthquakes and tidal waves nearly 2,000 years ago.
On land, Hawass and a team of archaeologists are searching for the tomb of the ill-fated lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Never-before-seen artifacts referencing Cleopatra, excavated by Hawass' team at the temple of Taposiris Magna, about 30 miles west of Alexandria, are featured.
The exhibition also showcases artifacts from Franck Goddio's continuing underwater search off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, begun in 1992 and sponsored by the Hilti Foundation. Goddio's remarkable finds bring visitors inside his search for the lost world of Cleopatra, including remnants from the grand palace where she ruled. Visitors also see underwater footage and photos of Goddio's team retrieving artifacts from the ocean and bringing them to the surface for the first time in centuries.
Cincinnati Museum Center has developed a variety of programming to provide guests with the complete Cleopatra experience. Keep your eyes out for lectures, spring break day camps, summer day camps, a book club, a girls night out and more to highlight the queen's visit.
Copyright The E.W. Scripps Company