Cleopatra Exhibition Opening Gala at the California Science Center

Discovery Ball 2012 Celebrates the New Cleopatra Exhibition at the California Science Center, Transporting Partygoers to Ancient Egypt 


Cleopatra left such an indelible impression on the world that nearly two thousand years after her rule, she continues to intrigue. Angelina Jolie is slated to play Cleopatra in an upcoming film and last year, Kim Kardashian posed as the Egyptian Queen in Harper’s Bazaar.

Elizabeth Taylor, Claudette Colbert, Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren and other legendary actresses have helped shape a vision of the ancient queen. Yet anyone interested in understanding the real Cleopatra’s world can find the artifacts of her time between now and December 31 at the California Science Center.

At the Discovery Ball on May 18, which celebrated the Opening Night preview for “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt,” KNBC-TV weathercaster Fritz Coleman called the museum’s new show “astonishing.”

Containing more than 150 artifacts recovered from beneath the ocean and the Egyptian sands after being hidden for nearly 2,000 years, astonishing was a good word for the historic new museum show.

During the pre-dinner reception, Coleman said he was conducting the night’s auction for the fourth time and he felt honored to do so. He also talked of the generosity of Science Center donors, such as Lynda Oschin, for the establishment of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will open in 2017 and become the future home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

“This is an exciting time for science in Southern California,” Coleman said.

Generosity was another good word for the night, as proceeds came to $1.2 million for the California Science Center Foundation through ticket sales, table sponsorships, live and silent auctions and a raffle for a Tesla Model S, the world’s first premium electric sedan.

As impressive as the Center’s previous soirees have been, this year’s Discovery Ball set a new standard. Classic Egyptian statuary flanked the entrance to underscore the theme and on entering, guests found a live camel, ready to pose with them in photographs.

Nearly 700 partygoers came to mingle in an elaborate re-creation of an ancient Egyptian marketplace. Tented booths offered an array of Middle Eastern munchies, while actors in Egyptian costumes dispensed hearty hors d’oeuvres and an animal handler charmed guests with a live snake.

Following the cocktail reception, partygoers moved into the museum exhibition, where they previewed the ancient sculptures, gold coins, gold jewelry and other artifacts. Guests marveled at the colossal figures and lingered over the jewels from the Queen’s era.

In fact, I lingered over the jewelry too. The baubles may date back millennia, but the pieces looked stylish enough to wear today.  (Just note the fabulous gold bracelets, necklace and earrings in the photo gallery below.)

Dinner followed, along with drinks and dancing in the “Midnight at the Oasis” nightclub, and screenings of two IMAX films: “To the Arctic 3D” and “Mysteries of Egypt.”

Jeffrey N. Rudolph, the Center’s president and CEO; Tom Soto, chair of the board of trustees; and event co-chairs Pierre P. Habis and Paula A. Madison participated in formal ceremonies. Vice-chairs of the event included Edna Anderson-Owens, Kira Reed Lorsch, Michelle C. Kerrick, Bernard A. Machlovitch, Art Lofton and Margo Leonetti O’Connell.

Among guests were former Governor George Deukmejian; former Governor Gray Davis; California State Controller John Chiang; California Senator Rod Wright; California Assembly Members Mike Davis and Betsy Butler; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel; Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson; and Los Angeles City Council Member Tom LaBonge. 

The exhibition at the California Science Center, located in Exposition Park in Los Angeles, continues through Dec. 31. Click here for tickets and further information.


Top photo: KNBC-TV weathercaster Fritz Coleman, left, and Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president at the Cleopatra Exhibition Opening Gala at the California Science Center

Second photo: Party guests Vanessa Herrera and Raul Anaya at the Cleopatra Exhibition Opening  at the California Science Center

Third photo: Guests discovered the real world of the legendary Egyptian Queen 2,000 years ago at the Cleopatra Exhibition Opening  at the California Science Center (photo: Lee Salem Photography)

Fourth photo: Misty Gray shows off a red diamondback snake at the Cleopatra Exhibition Opening Gala at the California Science Center

Fifth photo: Gold bracelets, earrings and a necklace dating from between 332 B.C. to 313 A.D. at the Cleopatra Exhibition Opening Gala at the California Science Center



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Cleopatra Exhibition Opening Gala at the California Science Center

Published and updated May 22, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA