Category Archives: Museum

Archives Photo of the Week: Happy Holidays From The Archives

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This week’s image really makes you feel the cold that December and January bring. This photograph features Eskimo children playing in the snow at 50 degrees below zero in Point Barrow, Alaska, 1917-1919.  Point Barrow is the northernmost point in the United States. The image was taken by William Van Valin, who led an expedition […]

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Syrian Archaeology

727px-Taller_Buddha_of_Bamiyan_before_and_after_destruction

We are all familiar with the images of the Buddhas of the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan as well as the heartbreaking image of the looting inside in the Baghdad Museum in 2003. All political statements aside, Syria has joined this list of destruction and devastation in the midst of its own civil war. Friday’s UNESCO […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Hi!

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This week’s image is an illustration by Alfred Bendiner, a Philadelphia cartoonist. He received his Bachelor and Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Later in his career, Bendiner served as an artist-architect for the Museum’s archaeological expeditions to Tepe Gawra and Khafajeh in Iraq in 1936 and to Tikal in Guatemala in 1960. His […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Rain

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It’s a rainy day in Philadelphia, so an umbrella and rain gear are a must today. This week’s photo features a farmer who is ready for the rain. The image is a studio portrait of a Japanese man wearing a palm-fiber rain coat, with a hoe over his shoulder and a bunch of daikons (white […]

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Contests of will between “task master” director Gordon and his artist M.L. Baker

M. Louise Baker painting the "Luna" Vase (Chama, Maya), Guatemala City, 1931. Museum image #176327

University Museum artist (1908-1936) M. Louise Baker, acclaimed for her archaeological illustration of Mayan pottery and Nubian and Ur excavation finds, considered Museum Director Dr. George Byron Gordon to be “a hard task master but a good boss, appreciative and withal, most likable.” However, Gordon had a well-deserved reputation for being tight with money, except […]

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Ur Digitization Project: November 2013

Father Legrain working on cuneiform tablets at the Ur Dighouse

Father Legrain’s Records Spotlight on travel sketches Trip back from Ur, 1925 In both the 1924-25 and the 1925-26 seasons, Father León Legrain was the epigrapher at Ur–the person whose expertise was in cuneiform script and whose duty it was to investigate the clay tablets as they were found. Father Legrain was curator of the […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Remembering John F. Kennedy

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As the nation remembers John F. Kennedy today on the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, the Penn Museum Archives looks back to an exhibition of the late president’s library. From June 9 to 12, 1964, the Penn Museum hosted a collection of JFK’s doodles, writings, papers, furniture (including his famous rocking chair), photographs, and other […]

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Mysteries of Kourion Revisited: a Mystery Solved!

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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 […]

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It Was All Quite Different: the Friendship of Lisa Lyons and Vicki Baum

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“Dear Elisabeth, If you had known what a nuisance I’m turning out to be you wouldn’t have started this correspondence, or would you, in spite of it all?” (4/10/1958) The Penn Museum archives received Vicki Baum’s letters at long last and quite by chance. When Lisa Lyons died, she left her records to the Museum, […]

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An ancient eye for design: Bronze Age ceramics from Lapithos, Cyprus

Detail of the incised face and surrounding decoration.

Prehistoric potters from Cyprus had a keen eye for design. Concentric circles, diamonds, and zig-zag patterns make some of the tiniest vessels come alive. I am Sara Levin, Kress Fellow in conservation, performing a condition survey of artifacts from Lapithos Vrysi tou Barba. This site in the north of the country is home to Bronze and Iron […]

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