Category Archives: Conservation

Treating Archival Treasures

Heather inpainting Rinehart's Geronimo. Photo credit: Vicky Schussler.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that the Penn Museum’s collection holds nearly one million archaeological and anthropological objects. What some may not know is that the Museum also houses an archive that holds 2,500 linear feet of records—documents, films, and images—about the collection, the history of archaeology and anthropology, the museum’s expeditions, […]

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Questions from the Artifact Lab: collecting and acquisitions at the Penn Museum

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In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies has been open for almost a year, and it has been an exciting year, busy with new discoveries, complex conservation treatments, and many conversations with our visitors who we speak with daily during our open window chat sessions. As you can imagine, we field a wide range of […]

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A really big show

An example of a very large textile that wouldn't fit in our standard cabinets.

One factoid about the Museum that never fails to amaze in conversation is the estimate that what’s on exhibition is less than 5% of our total collections.  The usual response is, “where’s the rest of the stuff?”  The answer is ‘in storage’.  The Museum has a whole array of storerooms (my usual joke is that […]

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Conserving ENIAC (aka Project CLEANIAC)

Pre-program intern Vicki Chisholm examining ENIAC components as part of the condition survey.

One of the responsibilities of the conservation department is to provide advice and consultation on conservation matters for colleagues, the university community and the general public.  The University Community often produces some interesting queries, like the time the ICA wanted to know how to prevent pest problems when exhibiting artworks made of chocolate.  Some time […]

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Special visitor in the Artifact Lab

Photo from the 1972 autopsy. Dr. Michael Zimmerman (left) cuts into the mummy's wrappings with a Stryker saw, assisted by Dr. Aidan Cockburn (center) and Dr. Al Ryman (right).

If you ask me, there is always something interesting going on in the Artifact Lab, and yesterday was no exception. If you have been following the Artifact Lab blog, you will know that we have been working on one of the mummies in our collection, who we refer to as PUM I. PUM stands for […]

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Un Gran Exito

Luis Reina, director of the Copan Sculpture Museum, accepts his Workshop Certificate from Dr. Loa Traxler

That’s how they say “A big success” in Honduras.  I learned that last week in Copan, the site where Penn Museum has been involved for over 25 years.  I went to Honduras in mid February with other Museum staff members (Dr. Loa Traxler, Bob Thurlow, and Tessa de Alarcon) for two purposes:  to see the […]

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A Message from Copán Ruinas

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I am in Copan Ruinas, Honduras along with Lynn Grant and Loa Traxler working on the final touches for a workshop on field conservation.  This is my first time in Honduras and therefore in Copan.   The site is certainly a marvel, but I expected it to be.  The real surprise has been the CRIA (Centro […]

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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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