Category Archives: Conservation

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!

IALplan4

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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Pachacamac Survey Project: Textile Update

Time is quickly passing, but we are making great strides and accomplishments in the IMLS grant-funded Pachacamac Survey Project!  This one-year grant covers a detailed condition assessment, photography and rehousing of the archeological textiles and ceramics affiliated with Max Uhle’s 1896 excavation in Pachacamac, Peru.  All these steps (and a few more) are going on […]

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“Get Your Fiber On!”

Last Friday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter proclaimed March “Fiber Art Month” during the opening ceremony of FiberPhiladelphia 2012!  In honor of that proclamation, I wanted to post a few photographs of some inspiring ancient Peruvian textiles I’ve seen during my IMLS-funded condition assessment survey. With simple tools, every process of textile manufacture was by hand. The thoughtful […]

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Conservation of Masks for Maya 2012: Lords of Time

  One of the projects that we’re working on in the conservation lab right now is preparations for the Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibition (opening on May 5th!). We’re currently examining and treating Guatemalan face masks. A common problem that many of these masks have is flaking paint.             […]

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