Cleopatra the last Queen of Egypt at the Franklin Institute

A king and a queen

From Communities Washington Times

The Franklin Institute, a center for science education with hands-on exploration for children and adults presents “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” through January 2, 2011.

The Franklin Institute is located in the Parkway Museum District is located in the City Center area were visitors will find Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the world class Rodin Museum, the main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, particularly important as Ben Franklin founded the first free library in Philadelphia (1731.)

The last great Pharoh of Egypt, Cleopatra lived from 69-30BC. Previously lost to the sands and the sea, her city and palace, built by Ptolmey II (300 B.C.) have been found in the Bay of Aboukir. Many artifacts found on the ocean floor from her royal palace as well as the lost city of Heraclieon and Canopus, the religious center of the region are now on display.

Imposing in their size and power are the two 16-foot tall figures of a Ptolemic King and Queen from the Temple of Amon at Heracleion, an ancient city near modern day Alexandria.

Making a search extending back 2,000 years in history even more difficult is that Egypt’s Roman conquerors attempted to rewrite history by destroying all evidence of her existence and her romances with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, assignations that were as much about romance as they were about aligning Egypt with political power.

Your visit starts with a brief movie, which introduces two men, Dr. Zahi Hawass, archaeologist and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Franck Goddio, underwater archaeologist and director of IEASM. These explorers are looking beneath the sea and into the warm sands of Egypt seeking the final resting place of the elusive queen.

Stepping beyond what is believed to be a statute of Cleopatra’s body (the head is sadly missing) visitors walk into the ruins of ancient Alexandria and are able to see, quite closely, the very artifacts that once populated the Queens castle and court.

The presentation is as interesting and impactful as any I have seen. It is also reverently quiet as people listen to the personalized audio tour where the “voice” of Cleopatra narrates your journey centuries back in time.



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