University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Conservation


What ARE the Buddhist Murals Made Of?

mural constructionv3

By: Morgan Burgess

The questions most frequently asked of us while working on the Buddhist murals in the Chinese rotunda involve what the murals are made of. Often people presume they are frescoes. True fresco is done on wet plaster. The pigments used in a fresco are mixed with water and applied to a wet plaster surface. A […]


Conserving the Buddhist Murals: An Introduction

Pre-program interns Morgan Burgess (left) and Cassia Balogh (right) work recording the current condition of  the mural C 688

By: Lynn Grant

Just because artifacts have been in our collections or even on display for a long time doesn’t mean we know all about them. A case in point is the large Buddhist Murals in our Chinese Rotunda, probably the largest artifacts in our collection, at least in area. Although they’ve been on exhibition there since the […]


Ur Digitization Project: April 2014

Bottom of Field card concerning PG778, containing drawing of U.10183

By: Brad Hafford

Artifact of the month Spotlight on Field Number U.10183 (Museum Number B17249) ‘goddess-handled’ jar In our recent investigations of pottery from Ur housed at the Penn Museum we have seen more than 1300 pieces, measuring, describing, photographing, recording condition, and making repairs or other treatments for those in need. In some cases we are removing […]


Mysteries of Kourion Revisited: a Mystery Solved!

X-ray_inprogress

By: Tessa de Alarcon

Awhile back I wrote a post, Mysteries of Kourion, about an unusual object from Kaloriziki Kourion (an archaeological site on Cyprus), which rattles when moved.  Last week I got to revisit the question of what exactly is making that noise, as this object along with a number of objects from the Egyptian section were taken […]


The Salty Pots of Ur and the Desalination Station

Ceramics drying after desalination

By: Tessa de Alarcon

In July, I joined the Ur Digitization Project.  As a part of this project, I have been working on a condition assessment of the ceramics from Ur.  In doing the condition assessment I am looking at, measuring, and evaluating the stability of every ceramic vessel in the Museum’s collection from Ur.  So far I have […]


Animal Imagery from Kourion Cyprus

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By: Tessa de Alarcon

I finished up my part in the Digital Kourion project over the summer and to end it I wanted to highlight some of my favorite objects that I photographed from this unique collection.  These photos are now online as part of the Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database (Kourion). One of the things I found particularly […]


Treating Archival Treasures

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

By: Heather Brown

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, […]


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

ArtLabTour-1

By: Molly Gleeson

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 […]


A really big show

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

By: Lynn Grant

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 […]


Conserving ENIAC (aka Project CLEANIAC)

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

By: Lynn Grant

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 […]


The Golden Age of King Midas

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