Milwaukee Public Museum exhibits rare Egyptian artifacts

By SARAH HAASE

Imagine being immersed in the ruins of ancient Alexandria, lost beneath the sea for centuries. How could you survive? At the Milwaukee Public Museum, you can learn about the ruins of ancient Alexandria, Queen Cleopatra’s reign and the ongoing search for her tomb. Opening this Oct. 14 and running through April 29, 2012, “Queen Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” will be in royal demand.

Ellen Censky, the senior vice president and academic dean of the Milwaukee Public Museum, said the MPM is constantly contacting and negotiating with exhibitors worldwide. As one of four stops in the U.S., MPM is fortunate to host this exhibit, which first appeared in Philadelphia and Cincinnati before arriving to Milwaukee. The last stop will be California before leaving the country.

Underwater archaeologist dives into the Mediterranean Sea into the sunken city of Alexandria beside an Egyptian Sphinx believed to represent Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra’s father.

This massive eight-gallery display contains artifacts that include an amphora from the fifth century B.C., along with gold jewelry, coins, artifacts and history. Highlights of the exhibit include a statue of the High Priest of Isis and a sphinx with a head that represents Cleopatra’s father, both from her private temple at her palace. Visitors can also examine the massive stone head of Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son, as well as a stone head of the queen herself. Two massive statues, 16 feet tall and weighing 5 tons each, will also be towering over spectators.

In order to display these statues at MPM, they needed to be taken apart with extreme caution. Censky said that the transportation of the statues will be guided from instructions from Egypt, in order to transport it up two levels to the special exhibits gallery. Additional contractors and engineers have been brought on for this extensive preparation. This will make Cleopatra the heaviest exhibit that MPM has ever put on. The preparation process that MPM has undertaken in featuring this exhibit has been extensive.

While MPM has hosted its own gift shops for past exhibits, Catherine Wallberg, the director of retail operations, said the giftshop for Cleopatra will be exclusive to this exhibit and will offer guests a chance to bring a piece of history home with them.

Students with a school ID can attend for $23.50 Monday – Thursday and $25.50 Friday – Sunday. For more information, including a list of special events related to the exhibit, visit www.mpm.edu.

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