Nimrud. Aleppo. Palmyra. Ebla. These ancient sites and many others in Iraq and Syria have found their way to the top of international news today, as the destruction of cultural heritage becomes both a by-product and a tactic of ongoing war. This new exhibition, created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what's at stake- the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people-and what's being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum's extensive Near East collection tell stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time. Contemporary artwork from Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist based in Cambridge, UK, provides an art intervention-a modern-day response to the artifacts and themes. The exhibition features the important work being done by the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with individuals and groups in the Middle East to help combat the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage.
The Great Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in England, and the Maya city of Teotihuacan were all built thousands of years ago. Add to that list of extraordinary achievements the earthen mounds--some rising to heights of 70 or 100 feet, some more than 5,000 years old--that dot the landscape of North America. This new exhibition tells the sometimes enigmatic story of more than 5,000 years of Native American moundbuilding through photographs, archival excavation records, and more than 60 artifacts excavated at mound sites throughout the eastern United States. The exhibition runs June 24 through December 2017.
Part exhibition and part working laboratory, this exhibit allows visitors to see various archaeological tools and watch as conservators work on art and artifacts from the middle east. Staff will be opening their windows several times daily to answer visitor questions.
This student-curated exhibition features 17 objects, drawn from the Penn Museum's collection and spanning more than four millennia, that impart messages expressing power, influence, and status through diverse media. Presented in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania's Year of Media, the exhibition makes connections between media of the past and of today.
The Penn Museum Archives' new exhibition, offered in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Provost Office's Year of Innovation, looks back at the pioneering Penn Museum television program "What in the World?" which aired on WCAU Philadelphia for more than a decade, and was syndicated nationally by CBS from 1951 to 1955. By means of photographs, letters, and other documents, as well as video clips from the few surviving episodes, the exhibition looks back at the highly original game show, offered to the public in the early days of television. Hosted by Penn Museum Director Froelich Rainey, the program featured a changing panel of experts from diverse fields, including such famous people as actor Vincent Price, artist Jacques Lipschitz, and anthropologist Carleton Coon, who worked together to puzzle out where in the world an artifact from the Museum's collections came from. Second floor Archives Corridor.
Come and drum with Philly's own master world-percussionist Joseph Tayoun on Wednesdays, beginning September 13 through December 13. All sessions are held in a gallery space, surrounded by ancient artifacts. This class is for all ages and for all levels of drumming! Dancers welcome! A limited number of drums will be provided. BYOD (bring your own drum) recommended! Pay at the door: $15 general admission; $10 Museum members and students with ID.
The Penn Museum's Chinese Rotunda with its 90-foot-high walls topped by a self-supporting dome serves as a grand location for this 2017 Fringe Festival offering. ‘a disruption' is a 50-minute musical performance of swirling, sputtering percussive dissonance. The latest composition by John Patrick Stewart, it was written for three cellists, four pianists, and four percussionists. The piece is performed in-the-round placing the audience in the center of the radially distributed musicians. Tickets are $20, available via the 2017 Fringe Festival website: fringearts.com.
Penn Museum is pleased to be part of Museum Day Live!--an annual, nationwide celebration of boundless curiosity, and museums' extraordinary offerings, hosted by Smithsonian magazine. A Museum Day Live! ticket, downloadable from the Smithsonian.com website, provides free admission for two people. Come out and explore.
Be an artist for the night! Bring your sketch pads and artist pencils and sketch among the world-renowned sculptures in the Penn Museum's China Gallery after hours. Admission: $9 per person, includes one free drink for guests 21 and older.
Penn Museum's newest program for young guests, ages 3 to 5, Museum Playdates are offered monthly, October through April (no January Playdate). Each one hour program has a different theme connecting to one of the galleries, with activities designed for young learners: story-time and dramatic play in a gallery; art-making in a classroom; and a small snack. Cost $10 (one child and one adult); $5 for Members (one child and one adult). Additional children $2 each. Families can make it a monthly Playdate with a discounted series subscription, on sale through October 3: $55; $25 for Members. Full series schedule and topics is online: penn.museum/playdates.
For 2017-2018, the Penn Museum's popular monthly Great Lectures Series, first Wednesday evenings October through June, focuses on the Rise of the City. Peter Struck, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, kicks off the new series with a Classical focus. Aristotle famously called humans "political animals." But by that he meant that humans are pack animals, they by nature live in clumps, and their natural clump size, he claimed, is the city, or the Greek polis. This talk examines Greek ideas about the polis, from philosophers, poets, and historians, from the archaic and classical periods. Dr. Struck examines the idea that we are by nature city creatures, and that no other mode of living fits humans so naturally as urban life. Cost: $10 general admission; $5 Penn Museum members. $10 at the door, based on availability. Advance registration recommended. For more information on the series: penn.museum/greatlectures.
The Penn Museum's annual Second Sunday Film Series, offered October through February (no December films) and held in collaboration with the Wolf Humanities Center's 2017-2018 Forum on Afterlives, explores Time Travel, and kicks off with a focus on ghosts. In Warwick Thorton's "The Darkside" (2015), ghost stories of Australia are retold by famous Australian actors. Justin McDaniel, Chair and Professor, Department of Religious Studies at Penn, and Director of the Penn Ghost Project, facilitates a discussion following the screening. The program is co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Department at Penn, the Penn Ghost Project, and Cinema Studies at Penn. Free with Museum general admission. Information on the full series is available online: penn.museum/culturefilms.
New this fall, the Penn Museum has something for everyone with Second Saturday programs, running monthly October through April. Guest can explore the Museum through tours, scavenger hunts, crafts, and more. In October, the focus is on ancient Rome. For information about all the Second Saturday programs, visit online: penn.museum/secondsaturdays. Free with Museum admission.
Richard Hodges, former Williams Director of Penn Museum and President of The American University of Rome, returns to discuss his new book Travels of an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place. Come travel with Dr. Richard Hodges as he explores sites across the globe and ponders the relationship of the individual with the past and the present of the past in its ruins, monuments, and traces of distant worlds and civilizations. A book signing and reception follow. Free.
The Penn Museum's Archaeological Adventures Homeschool Days help groups and families use the international collection to spark their students' learning. Guests are encouraged to use the flexible format of hands-on workshops, interactions with conservators, and more to shape a customized experience around their homeschool or cyber school curricula. Explore all things Egypt at this extra spooky Homeschool Day! Take a tour or join a Storytime Expedition of the Egypt galleries to view the Sphinx, real mummies, and artifacts from the Museum's collection. Join an interactive workshop to discover the process of mummification, or create your own tomb "False Door." Explore hieroglyphs and Ancient Egyptian culture through an archaeology-inspired art activity. Admission: $12 per child/adult. One adult per family is free and children 3 and under are free. Advance reservations are required; reserve tickets on the website calendar: penn.museum/calendar or call (215)746-6774 for more information.
Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King's College London, a prolific author and frequent radio and television commentator, speaks as part of the Wolf Humanities Center's 2017-18 Forum on Afterlives, co-sponsored by the Department of Classical Studies and the Penn Museum. Professor Hall poses the question: why, especially in times of great social upheaval, should we turn to the ancient past? Resurrecting Aristotle's notion of "disciplined recollection," she explains how it can help us manage the challenges of our own day. Advance registration: wolfhumanities.upenn.edu. Free.
Enjoy a special night of interactive global arts, bringing together contemporary live music, art, dance, and fashions of the African diaspora. Discover some of Philadelphia's leading performing and visual artists working in various media. From diverse sounds to dance, including Reimagined Jazz, Afrobeat, Caribbean and more, in the Museum's awe-inspiring ancient Egyptian gallery and Rotunda. Light fare and cash bar. Presented by the Artvolution Cultural Innovation Project. $10 cover.
Celebrate the Penn Museum's newest exhibition Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America, and learn more about the real work of archaeology, in North America and around the world at this special event co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society. Meet archaeologist and Moundbuilders curator Megan Kassabaum and other Penn Museum researchers. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), where archaeologists and other scholars are making new discoveries about the ancient past via analyses of ceramics, metallurgy, faunal and skeletal remains, and more.
Dr. Kevin M. Cahail, Curatorial Assistant, Egyptian Section, Penn Museum, and Lecturer, History Department., Penn State Abington campus, speaks at this lecture presented by the American Research Center in Egypt, Pennsylvania Chapter (ARCE-PA).The tombs of the New Kingdom Temple cemetery consisted of modest, vaulted mud-brick substructures, with small pyramids once standing above them. Yet, recent Penn Museum excavations at the site have shown that these humble tombs once contained a staggering number of individuals, some of whom can be placed into the historical fabric of New Kingdom history. Burials include all ages, making this site one of potentially great importance to our understanding of non-royal life during the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Dynasties. In this lecture, Dr, Cahail will discuss the cemetery, its tombs and inhabitants, and explore how recent findings in the field fit with the history of Abydos and Egypt as a whole. Admission: $10 for the general public, $7 for Penn Museum members and Penn faculty and staff, $5 for Students with ID, and FREE for ARCE-PA members and children under 12. Anthropology Department, Room 345 (take elevator off Kress Entrance to 3rd floor).