Category Archives: Collection

Are We Hard Wired To Collect?

Deer, Parrot, Chief, and Owl katsinam in the Wolf collection.

When talking to school kids visiting the Museum, I love to ask them if they collect anything?  Their hands fly up in the air and they eagerly describe their personal treasures of rocks, key chains, Pokemon or baseball cards, bottle caps, and state quarters. When I was a kid I collected stuffed octopi.  Seriously – […]

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How We Do What We Do

Buddhist Blog Project Photo

“Can you please explain what you’re doing?” is a question we hear daily. From a visitor’s perspective it doesn’t look like we’re doing much. Basically, we observe and document. A thorough condition report is the first step in any conservation treatment; we need to know what we’re dealing with. These murals are so large that […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Mosquee Assan Pacha, fontane des Ablutions. Caire.

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 I came across this week’s photo by chance and was just mesmerized by it. Taken by Maison Bonfils, it depicts a fountain inside of the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt. The photograph was taken in the late 1800s and is an 8.75″ x 11″ albumen print. The fountain and mosque still exist today and […]

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Getting the Murals to the Museum

C492 with accession numbers

It’s important to understand how an object actually comes into the museum. The Buddhist murals in the Rotunda are comprised of many different sized panels which entered the museum in stages.  The mural depicting Tejaprabha Buddha came into the museum incomplete in 1926.  You can see the panels are actually framed in large wooden borders […]

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What ARE the Buddhist Murals Made Of?

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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 […]

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The Two Buddhist Murals from Guangshengsi Monastery

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  Two of the most fascinating objects in the Asian section are a pair of  murals reported to have come from Guangshengsi Monastery in southern Shanxi Province, China.   What makes them particularly interesting is the nature in which their provenance, date, and subject matter have fluctuated over the decades since they came into the […]

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Seeing with A Haida Master – Robert Davidson

A 100 year old raven rattle in the collection really got his attention. Collection Object Number: NA3367A

We recently spent the day with renowned Haida artist, Robert Davidson, looking at old Haida carvings in Penn Museum’s collection.  Having flown across the country from Haida Gwaii, British Colombia (Canada!), Robert and his wife Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (a Haida attorney) arrived with their own photographer, Jack Litrell.  Their goal was to interview and record Mr. […]

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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

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 […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Unearthed from the Archives

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This Friday at 2PM, the Penn Museum Archives will open it’s doors to show off some of our treasures as part of a new program called “Unearthed from the Archives”. Each week, the archivists will choose a different item from the archives to present. We’re blessed with the gift of gab here in the archives […]

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“When the Sap Starts Running in the Spring, the Blood Starts Running in Our Men”

Oren Lyons at the Penn Museum in April 2014.

Probably one of the fastest growing games in the world, it seems that everyone wants to play lacrosse. The Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee will field a team at the World Outdoor Championship Games to be played this summer in Denver (July 9-19). In 2015 they will host 16-18 countries competing in the Indoor Box Lacrosse […]

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