The original Cleopatra was so beautiful that two Roman generals competed for her affections before Christ was born. In 1623, Shakespeare retold the tale of her ill-fated love affair with Mark Anthony and dramatic suicide. Egypt’s most famous queen still captivated the public in 1885 when a British company manufactured a life-size Cleopatra automaton to draw throngs to a London wax museum.

Recently acquired, the “Death of Cleopatra” automaton will be the centerpiece of DFW Elite Toy Museum’s new Oddities, Antiquities and Rarities exhibit that will run July 15 to February 28, 2015.

Three cats playing cards automaton

Three cats playing cards automaton

“The automaton depicts a slowly breathing, bare-breasted Cleopatra expiring from the bite of an asp as other asps writhe at her ankles,” said DFW Elite Toy Museum Curator Rodney Ross.

The exhibit will also include a 1930s-era canine automaton that opens and shuts its eyes and taps its paw. “Merchants used automatons like the tapper dog to tap on the glass and get passersby to stop and look in their store windows,” said Ross.

The exhibit will also feature a circa 1903, French automaton of three white cats playing cards. “The cats’ paws, mouths and tails move and they squeak,” said Ross. Also on display will be a Gustav Vishy-created automaton of an aristocratic monkey strumming a harp.

The Oddities, Antiquities and Rarities exhibit will run from July 15 to February 28 at DFW Elite Toy Museum at 5940 Eden Drive in Fort Worth, Texas. The exhibit will showcase scratch-built models from famous toy collectors, movie props from “The Addams Family” and one-of-a-kind working scale models of iconic automobiles.

DFW Elite Toy Museum has a 3000-piece collection of antique toys, rare scale models, and one-of-a-kind auto memorabilia. It houses one of the America’s largest collections of German driving school models. The museum is pet-friendly, public and admission is free.For more information about DFW Elite Toy Museum, call 817-834-3625 x 230 or visit