Franklin Institute to open Cleopatra exhibit

On Saturday the Franklin Insitute will debut a Cleopatra exhibit that is expected to be a blockbuster.

The Franklin is the first stop for the newly-unearthed statues and jewelry from the ancient Egyptian queen.

The show is as much about finding the objects as the objects themselves.

With watery music and rippling lighting, the show immerses you not into the world of Cleopatra, but Franck Goddio, a French underwater archeologist who has been pulling Cleopatra’s palace up from the bottom of the sea, one statue at a time.

He has been mapping the ocean floor off the coast of Alexandria ever since he got permission from the Egyptian government 20 years ago.

“I say to the Egyptian authority that I need four to five hundred years more of permits,” says Goddio. “After I will see what I will do.”

Items range from a gold trinket the size of a pea, to statues weighing eight tons each. Some items on display were only unearthed weeks ago. The exhibition organizer John Norman says new items will be added as they are found.

“They haven’t found, for instance, her tomb,” says Norman. “When they do find her tomb, that will be an incredible conclusion to that part of the story.”

Norman says the Franklin Institute was chosen to debut the traveling show because 1.4 million people who came to see King Tut at the institute.

He says there’s enough material down there to last a lifetime, and then some.

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