Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology)
3260 South St. Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Calendar
    Upcoming events
      Magic in the Ancient World
    • Tuesday, March 28, 2017
    • This exhibit features a variety of a variety of artifacts once used by ancient peoples seeking to fulfill desires through supernatural means. See amulets, incantation bowls, curse tablets, rings and other items from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome.
      Timely Exhibits of Interest to Everyone
    • Tuesday, March 28, 2017
    • By means of photographs, posters, and ephemera, "Timely Exhibits of Interest to Everyone" surveys a century of public exhibitions at the Penn Museum, 1890-1990. Presented in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania's Year of Media, the exhibition explores how styles of display have changed over the decades.
      An Overlooked Chapter in the History of Egyptology: W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey & Pauline Hopkins
    • Thursday, March 30, 2017
    • Vanessa Davies, Visiting Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, speaks at this Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society lecture. Three prominent black writers of the early 20th century--W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Pauline Hopkins--incorporated ancient Egyptian culture into their writings. Attacking a common theory of their day, DuBois and Garvey used ancient Egyptian culture to argue for the humanity of black people, marshaling evidence of Egypt's glorious past to inspire black people in the Americas with feelings of hope and self-worth. They also engaged with the contemporary work of prominent archaeologists, a fact lost in most histories of Egyptology. Hopkins' novel Of One Blood places the reality of the racial discrimination and the racial "passing" of her day against the backdrop of ancient Egypt. Like Du Bois, she advocates for the education of black Americans, and like Garvey, she constructs an African safe haven for her novel's protagonist. Understanding these three writers' treatments of ancient Egypt, Davies argues, provides a richer perspective on the history of the discipline of Egyptology. A reception with opportunity to meet the speaker follows.
      Objects of Study: Paper, Ink, & the Material Turn
    • Friday, March 31, 2017
    • The goal of this symposium is to dissect the interpretive aims of "materiality studies" through a focused lens of works on paper. In recent years, "materiality" has become a buzzword across the humanities, and an impressive range of methods, investigative starting points, and analytic goals have come to rest under the term's mantle. But in grouping this diverse array of approaches under a single heading, does each method's unique potential risk becoming flattened and obscured? An illustrated book might just as easily inspire a reconsideration of workshop practices as it could a chemical investigation of ink formulae; are social history and chemistry, to name just these two examples, justifiably held together within the rubric of materiality?
      Preservation of Art & Culture in Times of War: Public Keynote Panel on New Frontiers in the Protection of Cultural Property
    • Tuesday, April 4, 2017
    • Dr. Richard Leventhal, Director of the Penn Museum's Penn Center for Cultural Heritage, moderates a wide-ranging discussion with panelists. Recent legal conventions have given the effort to preserve cultural property new tools and new vigor. At the same time, attacks on cultural property-led by non-state actors and motivated by religious intolerance, national chauvinism, or greed-have become fiercer, with some insurgent groups attempting to obliterate places of national importance in an effort to re-write cultural history. Taking into account the perspectives of art, archaeology, history, law, and the military, how must preservation efforts change in response to armed conflict in the 21st century? A cocktail reception and opportunity to preview the new exhibition, "Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq," follows the panel discussion (limited timed tickets available with advance reservations, exhibition viewing begins at 3:30 pm and continues after the program). Advance reservations required at
      Great Beasts of Legend Lecture Series - Beasts in the Night Sky: The Constellation Myths of Greece & Rome
    • Wednesday, April 5, 2017
    • Dr. Patrick Glauthier, Department of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania, is the evening's speaker. Aries the Ram, Taurus the Bull, Cetus the Sea-monster--there's no shortage of mythical animals among the constellations of ancient Greece and Rome. But why do such creatures populate the heavens in the first place? And what did they mean to the societies that first identified and named them? Although it can be hard for us to clearly identify two Bears circling up above, the ancient imagination saw animalistic drama and intrigue all over the night sky, and the particulars of these narratives were often felt to impact life on earth. This talk explores the history of some of these constellations, their representations in ancient art and literature, and their broader role in ancient Greco-Roman society.
      Color Between the Wines - Featured Artifacts: Foo Lions
    • Wednesday, April 5, 2017
    • Gather your co-workers and friends for this adult coloring meet up. Socialize and recharge with other coloring enthusiasts as you illustrate images and designs based on Penn Museum artifacts. Depart on a mini-gallery tour at 6:30 pm to get inspiration from world-renowned art and artifacts. Wine, beer, light dinner fare, and snacks are available for purchase in the Pepper Mill Café. Materials are provided.
      Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria & Iraq
    • Saturday, April 8, 2017
    • 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.
      Family Second Sunday: Destination Japan - Lotus Flowers
    • Sunday, April 9, 2017
    • Join a Penn Museum educator to learn new perspectives about ancient and contemporary cultures through hands-on activities. In Buddhist art, the lotus flower represents purity and enlightenment. Guests craft their own lotus blossoms, and discover other Buddhist symbols on a gallery Look and Learn tour at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m.
      Art, Disaster, Utopia
    • Thursday, April 13, 2017
    • Speaker: Rebecca Solnit (Writer, Historian, Environmental and Human Rights Activist) How might we translate natural and man-made disasters into opportunities for changed states of mind infused with utopian hope? This is one of the challenging questions Rebecca Solnit poses in her recent work. Eclectic, brilliant, widely celebrated, Solnit is an inspiration for people around the world. In her keynote address, she will speak to the broad concerns of the conference--art, environment, utopia--drawing on her own highly distinctive toolkit as an author, activist, historian, and artist.
      Can Scientists (Not) Be Activists?
    • Friday, April 14, 2017
    • This lecture draws attention to the ways that scientific research does or does not translate into ethical or political imperatives, drawing from Dr. Hansen's controversial decision to leave his post as the head of NASA's Goddard Institute to devote his time to political activism. He talks about the process of science and independent peer review in the context of rapid global climate change.
      Afternoon Lecture - Safe Passage: Ancient Egyptian Vernacular Shrines in the Western Desert
    • Saturday, April 15, 2017
    • Dr. Salima Ikram, Distinguished Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo and Professor at Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa, speaks at this American Research Center in Egypt, Pennsylvania Chapter program. As challenging as travel can be today, it could be far more treacherous in ancient times. Despite the manifold difficulties, humans traveled great distances, even traversing portions of the Sahara. This lecture addresses travel in ancient Egypt, with particular focus on movement through the Sahara and the invocations to the divine in the form of prayers and vernacular shrines that were made as an aid to safe transport.
      P.M. @ Penn Museum Star Trek Night
    • Wednesday, April 19, 2017
    • Are you fit for Command? Perhaps Science or Operations is more your department. Whatever your skill set and interests are, the Penn Museum invites you to choose your adventure and take the ultimate challenge, exploring the international galleries as never before while earning your Starfleet rank. After the adventure, listen to the hit band The Roddenberries-the galaxy's premiere Star Trekkified, multi-media sci-fi rock cabaret, while you drink space cocktails. Star Trek Night at the Penn Museum begins as Dr. Steve Tinney, Associate Curator-in-Charge, Babylonian Section, and an avid Trekker, welcomes guests, and offers a short introductory talk about the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh in Star Trek (Darmok, the 102nd episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation). Ancient and traditional cultures on the planet Earth as featured throughout the Museum's galleries offer new recruits a lot to think about. Along with mental challenges, recruits can expect physical challenges too. Limited tickets are available and advance registration at the Museum's online calendar of events is strongly recommended. Guests must be 18 years old or older, alcoholic drinks available for ages 21 and above.
      Sleepover Program: 40 Winks With the Sphinx
    • Friday, April 21, 2017
    • The Penn Museum's popular sleepover program, geared to ages 6 to 12 and their families or chaperones, invites guests on an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's activities take intrepid explorers on a journey through time and across continents, with hands-on games, crafts, and more. A scavenger hunt and a flashlight expedition through the galleries offer new ways to connect with the ancient artifacts awaiting discovery. Later in the night, explorers roll out their sleeping bags to doze at the foot of the largest granite Sphinx in the Western Hemisphere.
      World Culture Day: Rome's Birthday
    • Saturday, April 22, 2017
    • "Felix natalis dies!" Roughly translated, that is "happy birthday" in Latin--a great phrase to use at the royal celebration of Rome's 2,270th Birthday (as legend sets Rome's founding in April of 753 BCE). Guests will be treated to explosive gladiator fights and interactive legionary tactical demonstrations, mythology gallery tours in the Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans suite of galleries, toga wrapping demonstrations and laurel wreath-making craft tables, short lectures, and minute "pop up" presentations on ancient Roman history and life.
      Philadelphia Science Festival Program: Be a Conservator!
    • Sunday, April 23, 2017
    • Do you have what it takes to preserve archaeology's greatest treasures? Penn Museum invites guests to investigate the science of preservation through hands-on conservation activities alongside our conservators. This drop-in program is part of the Philadelphia Science Festival activities.
      Great Beasts of Legend Lecture Series: Man Lions, "Blood-Seed" Demons & Wish-Fulfilling Cows: Assorted Beings from the Indian Imagination
    • Wednesday, May 3, 2017
    • Dr. Deven Patel, Associate Professor, Department of South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania, offers this Great Beasts lecture. The Beast in early South Asia runs the gamut of imaginative possibilities. Visualized in mythological literature and the plastic arts, unique and yet oddly recognizable Beings bubbled up for centuries from the psychic depths of Indian peoples. This presentation highlights some of the great Beasts of these lands-menacing demons; divine emanations both majestic and hideous; sublime animals that defy all expectations; and hybrid human/animal forms shuttling between mortal and immortal worlds. Special attention is given to the distinctive ways these imaginings continue to shape the culture of this region.
      Mummies & Martinis
    • Thursday, May 4, 2017
    • Enjoy the dramatic backdrop of the Museum's collections during an after-work happy hour in the Egypt (Mummies) Gallery. Admission: $9 per person includes one free drink for guests 21 and older.
      P.M. @ Penn Museum: Wined Through History
    • Wednesday, May 17, 2017
    • Back by popular demand this sipping and sleuthing event is sponsored by the Penn Museum Young Friends. After sipping on fine wines, guests can join the action in a new scavenger hunt through the Museum's galleries. Guests can show up solo to meet new people, or attend with a team of up to four friends. Prizes await for winners of the scavenger hunt through history.