Category Archives: Conservation

A Q&A “In the Artifact Lab” with Molly Gleeson

Molly Gleeson

One of the most interesting new Museum projects is our current exhibition, In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies. It’s unique in a number of ways, but notably for the fact that you can actually talk to the experts as they conduct live conservation work right before your eyes. As a coordinator for our social […]

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Microscopy and mummy bits: updates from the Artifact Lab

Chatting with visitors through one of the open windows in the Artifact Lab

In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies opened on September 30 and we have since been very busy-not only working on examining and treating objects from our Egyptian collection, but also speaking with the public on a daily basis. We had a big crowd for the 125th Anniversary open house, and some of our busiest […]

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Mysteries of Kourion

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I am working on a year long project conducting a condition survey of the objects at the Penn Museum from Kourion, Cyprus, that were excavated under the direction of George McFadden. This may not sound all that glamorous, but it has some definite perks.  In particular it means that I get to examine and photograph […]

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Willard Libby, Alfred Nobel, and Ahanakht

Graph taken from publication of Libby's Nobel Laureate address, showing Penn Museum's own Aha-Nakht[sic] as one of the baseline known dates.

How cool is this?  While working on a post for our Artifact Lab blog, I Googled Ahanakht, the ancient Egyptian buried in an elaborately inscribed wooden coffin in our collection.  Besides learning that Ahanakht I was the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare nome (province) in around 2000 BCE, I got a result citing […]

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Mummies on the move!

A coffin (left) and storage box with mummies (right) being transported through the Egyptian galleries.

No, the mummies haven’t come to life-that only happens in the movies (think the 1932 original “The Mummy”). We are in the final stages of preparing In the Artifact Lab for the opening on Sunday, September 30, and we’re moving several mummies and other objects from storage to their new digs up on the 3rd […]

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Prep-work for In the Artifact Lab

Papyrus samples-aged and unaged

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Conservators work hard to prevent things from deteriorating, but we occasionally like to destroy things (gasp!). Maybe it’s because we have devoted so much of our lives to saving things, or maybe it’s because we normally have to tend to such minute details so carefully […]

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The Artifact Lab takes shape

Project Conservator Molly Gleeson comes face to face with one of her prospective 'clients'

Last week the preparations for the Artifact Lab (see my previous post) really began to gather speed.  On Monday, Molly Gleeson the project conservator arrived and was immediately plunged into the preparations. Molly, a graduate of the UCLA/Getty program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, has experience and interest in public outreach regarding […]

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Coming soon to a gallery near you: Conservation!

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Two years ago in this forum, I wrote about Conservation’s move to temporary, smaller quarters, blithely saying “it may be two years before we get back to our proper spaces”.  Well, as anyone who’s had renovations done knows, things take longer than expected and it will probably be another two years before we get those […]

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Pachacamac Survey Project: Wrapping Things Up

It’s hard to believe that our year here is coming to an end. We’re wrapping up the final details and writing our final reports on our IMLS Pachacamac Survey Project.  When I wrote my last blog post, we were in full photography and housing mode.  I am delighted to report that we have finished that […]

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Pachacamac Survey Project: Ceramics Update

Team Pachacamac (Top left) Jacob Bridy, Elizabeth Levitz, Laura Walsh, Nicole Bull, Hong-Gyu Shin (Bottom left) Elissa Meyers, Fran Baas, Ainslie Harrison

So we are almost at the end of our IMLS survey of Pachacamac textiles and ceramics. As mentioned in previous blog posts, this one-year grant covers a detailed condition assessment, photography, and rehousing of the archeological textiles and ceramics from Max Uhle’s 1896 excavation at Pachacamac, Peru.  We have gotten a lot done over the last 10 […]

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