University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Fun Friday Image of the Week

Summer Vacation

By: Maureen Callahan

Ah, our lantern slide collection. A cornucopia of preservation problems and cataloging head-scratchers. Here’s a sunny image for a rainy day here in Philadelphia: Sometimes working in the archives is like being a contestant on “What in the World?” We’re not experts in any one area, and it’s difficult to figure out what’s happening in […]

How to protect your home and family, the Sassanian way.

By: Alison Miner

Ok, I’ll be honest. At first I just chose this image of an Aramaic incantation bowl as the fun friday image of the week because: “look! cute child-like monster drawings!”. But the more I learn about this esoteric corner of the archaeological world, the more relevant these little bowls become. For several hundred years between […]

Turtle Heist

By: Maureen Callahan

We’ve all been told that anthropologists have no right to intervene in the lives of their subjects — does it make a difference if their subjects are small, green, and promise not to tattle? Frank Goldsmith Speck, near the end of his career at Penn, befriended John Witthoft, a young colleague of his. The two […]

The Tactile Experience

By: Alessandro Pezzati

I previously wrote about the Penn Museum’s close calls with visitors outraged because forbidden to paw at the granite sphinx.  But when is it okay for a visitor to handle the artifacts?  Exceptions are made, not only when you are famous, but sometimes because you are blind, and more rarely, when you are famous and […]

Do the museum guards really mistreat visitors?

By: Alessandro Pezzati

It is an eternal conundrum of museums to balance the contradictory values of preservation and access.  On the one hand, museums must protect these countless pieces of the world forever, but on the other, they’re not allowed to do it the best way, which is to put everything underground in a salt mine beneath a […]

Desert Falconer

By: Maureen Callahan

Pointless but Adorable Animal Photo

By: Maureen Callahan

Fire, Water, and the Closing of the Frontier

By: Maureen Callahan

If you ever want to make a genealogist cry (no judgment here — that could be an entertaining time), just mention the 1890 United States census. It was a victim of destiny and bureaucrats, first damaged in a fire in 1921 and later destroyed by bone-headed paper pushers in 1933. The first census to use […]

Weirdo gentlemen archaeologists and the archivists who love them

By: Maureen Callahan

There’s a qualitative difference, I’ve discovered, in researching the lives of antebellum and post-Civil War historical figures. When I read the papers of archaeologists of the late nineteenth century, I more or less understand their lives, the technologies that influence their work and the workings of their disciplines. Anything before 1860, however, leaves me lost. […]

More snakes than Indiana Jones

By: Alessandro Pezzati

While preparing for an upcoming presentation, I am finally taking a close look at the museum’s amazing film collection.  Though digitized and made available online in 2007-2008 by the Internet Archive,  the 675 reels of 16mm film are simply too much material for casual browsing.  Spending time with the films, however, is worth it. Comprised […]

Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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