The west coast premiere of Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, featuring the largest collection of its kind ever assembled in the U.S., will open at the California Science Center May 23, 2012. More than 150 priceless Egyptian artifacts illuminating the life of Cleopatra VII, one of the most provocative and powerful women in history, will be on view including colossal statues, jewelry, coins and items from her sunken palace in Alexandria and other ancient sites that were significant during her life as queen.
Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt immerses visitors in the experience of two present-day searches on land and sea for the elusive queen, which extend from the sands of Egypt to the depths of the Bay of Aboukir near Alexandria. The artifacts weigh in at about 30 tons in total, including two 16-foot granite statues of a Ptolemaic king and queen from the 4th – 3rd centuries B.C.
“We are thrilled to host the west coast premiere of this extraordinary exhibition,” said Jeffrey Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center. “The exhibition will help our guests explore the science of archaeology and the process of recovering these artifacts which reveal new and fascinating details of Cleopatra’s life.”
The artifacts in Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt are woven into the story of her rule and life in ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic period. 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 has remained one of history’s most intriguing enigmas, and her final resting place is one of Egypt’s great unsolved mysteries. The story of her life and time unfolds in a dramatic setting with high definition multimedia and original soundscapes, including a complimentary audio tour provided to every guest, making the exhibition a rich, multisensory experience.
The exhibition is organized by National Geographic and Arts & Exhibitions International, a division of AEG Live, with cooperation from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM).Visitors to the exhibition follow the modern-day parallel stories of two ongoing expeditions being led in Egypt. The galleries display items recovered in these explorations by Franck Goddio, French underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM, and by Zahi Hawass, former Minister of State for Antiquities of Egypt, with Kathleen Martinez, who is searching for Cleopatra’s tomb in the desert at Taposiris Magna.
The exhibition showcases artifacts from Franck Goddio’s continuing underwater search off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, where he has recovered items that were part of Cleopatra’s world, as well as that of her dynasty. His search, sponsored by the Hilti Foundation, began in 1992. Goddio’s remarkable finds bring visitors inside his search for the lost world of Cleopatra, including remnants from the grand palace where she ruled and the sunken ancient cities of Canopus and Heracleion, two bustling centers of commerce and culture in her era, where she would have spent time for both religious and pleasure-seeking pursuits.
“The aim of our work is to reveal traces of the past and bring history back to life. We are delighted to present our underwater archaeological achievements and discoveries off the coast of Egypt to the American public,” said Franck Goddio.
“Cleopatra’s story of love, power, glamour and tragedy has intrigued us for centuries and has fueled archeologists to continue searching for greater understanding,” said John Norman, president of Arts and Exhibitions International. “Visitors to this exhibition will gain insight into her life by discovering objects from Cleopatra’s world, even as efforts continue today to piece together new insights into the life of one of history’s most remarkable leaders.”
Cleopatra, the last great pharaoh before Egypt succumbed to Roman opposition, lived from 69 – 30 B.C. with a rule marked with political intrigue and challenges to her throne. She captivated two of the most powerful men of her day, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as she attempted to restore Egypt to its former superpower status.
“Cleopatra is one of the most fascinating figures of ancient Egypt,” said Kathryn Keane, vice president of National Geographic Exhibitions. “This exhibition tells her remarkable story through rare artifacts excavated from two ongoing archaeological projects, bringing ancient Egypt’s famous last pharaoh back to life through modern-day exploration.”
IMAX Film – Mysteries of Egypt
To enhance the guest experience during the run of Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, the Science Center IMAX Theater will be featuring Mysteries of Egypt. Produced by National Geographic, the film transports audiences to a distant time and place with spectacular imagery and a compelling story. Legendary screen actor Omar Shariff portrays a grandfather who enchants his granddaughter, played by Kate Maberly, with tales of an ancient people. Re- enactments are used to illustrate events such as building the pyramids, the reign of the pharaohs, and the discovery of Tut’s tomb. Beginning May 23, Mysteries of Egypt will show daily at 10:30 am, 1:30 and 3:30 pm, with additional shows Saturday & Sunday at 5:30 pm. Combo tickets for the exhibition and Mysteries of Egypt or any IMAX film are available.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
About Arts & Exhibitions International (AEI)
Founded in 2003 by President John Norman and international vice president Andres Numhauser, AEI produced the award-winning exhibition “Diana: A Celebration” in association with the Althorp Estate in the United Kingdom; two touring exhibitions dedicated to the treasures of King Tutankhamun; “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship;” and “America I AM: The African American Imprint” in partnership with Tavis Smiley. Norman and Numhauser have 40 years combined experience in the entertainment and exhibition business, working over the years on such projects as “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit” and “Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes.” The company has relationships with the most important museums in the world and has presented traveling exhibitions on five continents. AEI is part of AEG Exhibitions, an affiliate division of AEG LIVE. AEG LIVE is the live- entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. For more information, visit www.artsandexhibitions.com.
About the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM)
Founded in 1987 as a French non-profit organization by President Franck Goddio for the location, exploration, excavation and restoration of sunken sites. The Institute calls upon scientists and specialists of different scientific field to support its research missions, study and publish the findings. Furthermore it sets up exhibitions allowing the general public to get access to its discoveries. For more information, visit: www.franckgoddio.org.
About the California Science Center and Ticket Information The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe- inspiring films. Its mission is as follows:” We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.”
The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Please check the Science Center web site for schedule updates. Tickets for Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt are currently on sale. Guests are encouraged to buy their tickets online at www.californiasciencecenter.org to reserve an entry date & time. The general information number is (323) SCIENCE. Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt admission prices are $19.75 for adults 18-59, $16.75 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $12.75 for children 4 – 12. Member rates are $12.75 for adults, $11.75 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $10.75 for children 4-12. Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt and IMAX combination ticket prices are $26.00 for adults 18-59, $21.25 for youth 13-17, college students with I.D. and seniors 60+, and $16.50 for children 4-12. Member rates for combo tickets are $18.25 for adults, $16.25 for youth 13 to 17, college students with I.D. & seniors 60+, and $13.75 for children 4-12. Special rates for schools and other groups of 15 and over apply. The exhibit’s special group information number is (213) 744-2019. Children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Admission to all other Science Center exhibits is free. More information is also available at www.californiasciencecenter.org