The myth of Cleopatra, is a tale of power, beauty, and mystery. The reality of the ancient queen is equally compelling. “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” at the Cincinnati Museum Center is an exciting exhibition that brings you deep into the heart of her myth and closer to her reality. The Cleopatra exhibition also lets you experience ongoing excavations beneath the sand and the sea as archeologists continue their search for the real Cleopatra.
“Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt”
The Cleopatra Galleries
The Cleopatra exhibition casts a spell of beauty, accomplishment and power. Cleopatra’s power reaches from the ancient past to palpate the heart from the very first moment you enter. Her power is deep within the rare gold coins that bear the queen’s likeness. It shimmers in reflected light from golden jewels that adorned the women of her time. Power radiates from the sacred objects and everyday implements in elegant displays throughout the exhibition.
The multimedia event begins with a brief movie that introduces Dr. Zahi Hawass and Franck Goddio. The two archeologists lead ongoing land and sea expeditions. They led the search efforts responsible for recovering the Egyptian artifacts displayed over the 8 Cleopatra Exhibition galleries.
-Gallery 1- Begin the Audio Tour
Deep colors and cool lights illuminate the path into Cleopatra’s world. Soothing music surrounds visitors with the feel of ancient rhythms. Cleopatra herself begins the audio tour via a personal listening device as visitors encounter the statue of a Ptolemaic queen.
-Gallery 2- Ruins of Alexandria after Earthquake and Tsunami
Centuries ago, an Earthquake and Tsunami destroyed the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Artifacts remained underwater until they were raised during a recent expedition. A video in Gallery 2 lets you visit Frank Goddio as he excavated underwater Ptolemaic era ruins and brought them to the surface.
-Gallery 3- Canopus
Gallery 3 holds sacred artifacts raised from the submerged city of Canopus. The area was both a center of religious pilgrimage and a decadent Las Vegas-style Egyptian playground.
-Gallery 4- Heracleion
Cleopatra’s power surrounds the pair of 16 foot granite statues. The Ptolemaic queen and king stood watch over the Temple of Amen at Heracleion, then rested beneath the sea for nearly 2000 years. The pair were raised from their underwater resting place and now stand tall amid Gallery 4 artifacts.
-Gallery 5- Alexandria
A sphinx, a statue of Isis and other items from Cleopatra’s private temple bring an air of mystery to Gallery 5. The Ptolemaic era artifacts were raised from the site of Cleopatra’s palace at Alexandria.
-Gallery 6- The Beauty of Cleopatra
The dark seductive granite figure at the edge of the gallery is headless yet mesmerizing. Adorned as Isis, the female form represents a Ptolemaic queen. Also on display is a papyrus document scientists believe to have been executed by Cleopatra’s own hand.
-Gallery 7- Search for the Tomb of Cleopatra and Antony
Dr. Zahi Hawass is still leading the search for Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s tomb. Gallery 7 contains artifacts uncovered during his land based excavations at the temple complex at Taposiris Magna. A stone head on display in this gallery is believed to portray Cleopatra.
-Gallery 8- The Legend
Many actresses played the role of Cleopatra over the years. The final gallery contains a montage of movie clips and images reflecting the world’s fascination with the queen.
The Cleopatra Exhibition represents a resume of achievement any modern woman would proudly claim. Cleopatra IV was the last in the Ptolemaic line to rule Egypt as a Pharaoh. History reveals her as a Navy commander, an author, a head of state and a scholar with a mastery of 7 languages. Her beauty and charm conquered the hearts of Roman rulers, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Affairs with the two men produced 4 children and consolidated Roman and Egyptian power for nearly two decades.
Cleopatra was so mighty a woman, Roman rival, Octavian, sought to destroy her. She deprived him of that satisfaction by taking her own life then ordering her body hidden where it has yet to be found. After her death, Romans erased most evidence of her existence and left history with the myth of Cleopatra as a wanton temptress. The exhibition, “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt,” presents new and important evidence that sheds light on who she really was.
Where and When
The Cleopatra exhibition was organized by National Geographic and Arts and Exhibitions International. After a world premier at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it is now open at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibition will continue until September 5, 2011.
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s Cleopatra experience will include lectures, spring break day camps, summer day camps, a book club, a girls night out and other activities in honor of the queen’s visit to the Queen City. For more information or tickets, visit cincymuseum.org or call 513-287-7000.
Cleopatra Exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center
“Cleopatra: The Exhibition” Media Kit