University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Conservation

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 […]

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).

By: Molly Gleeson

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 […]

Un Gran Exito

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

By: Lynn Grant

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 […]

A Message from Copán Ruinas


By: Tessa de Alarcon

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 […]

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

Molly Gleeson

By: Tom Stanley

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 […]

Microscopy and mummy bits: updates from the Artifact Lab

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

By: Molly Gleeson

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 […]

Mysteries of Kourion


By: Tessa de Alarcon

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 […]

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.

By: Lynn Grant

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 […]

Mummies on the move!

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

By: Molly Gleeson

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 […]

Prep-work for In the Artifact Lab

Papyrus samples-aged and unaged

By: Molly Gleeson

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 […]

The Golden Age of King Midas

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