Category Archives: Museum

Ur Project: May 2015

x-ray of U.8783 (B17463) with comparison to published pin types from Ur

Metal Tools and Weapons from Ur With yet another look at U.8783 (Penn Museum Number: B17463) Awl, Chisel, or Punch from grave PG 422 More than 40 years after he excavated at the ancient city of Ur, Sir Max Mallowan had this to say: “There is still much to be gained through the analysis of Woolley’s […]

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The Unusual Legacy of J. Ashley Sibley

Excavation records, circa 1964, created by the Junior Archaeological Society of Baton Rouge

The Smith Creek Archaeological Project is a new Penn Museum research project, conducting its first season in the field during the late spring of 2015. The Penn Museum’s social media coordinator, Tom Stanley, is blogging about the project. Scattered archaeological work has been conducted on mound sites in the Lower Mississippi Valley dating back as […]

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Cherokee Dance Rattles

Cherokee Stomp Dance Ankle Bands. Museum Object Numbers 46-6-12 A and B. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum.

Sound and Motion in Museum Objects: Cherokee Stomp Dance Ankle Band Rattles Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Sarah Parkinson How should museums represent objects that incorporate sound and movement? This seems to be a unique challenge, since museums tend to rely on visual cues alone in displays that are static and mute. During a […]

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Peyote Feather Fan

Peyote eagle feather fan collected from Wi·tapano'xwe. Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number 70-9-480.

One Fan’s Long and Winding Road to the Penn Museum Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Monica Fenton This peyote fan (object number 70-9-480) was once in the possession of a Delaware (also called Lenni Lenape or Lenape) medicine man from Oklahoma, variously named James C. Webber, War Eagle, and Wi·tapano’xwe (which translates to […]

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The Speck Connection: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Objects

Frank Speck in his office in College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, c. 1930.

Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881–1950), acknowledged as one of the most prolific anthropologists of the early 20th century, served as chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly four decades (1913–1949). He conducted ground-breaking ethnographic research, working closely with Indigenous informants from a wide range of communities (Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Mohegan, Nanticoke, […]

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Why Would We Dig Here?

Dr. Megan Kassabaum, Director of the Smith Creek Archaeological Project.

The Smith Creek Archaeological Project is a new Penn Museum research project, conducting its first season in the field during the late spring of 2015. The Penn Museum’s social media coordinator, Tom Stanley, is blogging about the project. The Smith Creek Archaeological Project focuses on a little-known site in rural Mississippi, land that was reshaped […]

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Greenland Inuit Doll

Eskimo (Inuit) doll from Arsuk, Greenland. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number: 37-14-7.

The Lady in Furs Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Monica Fenton This Inuit (Eskimo) doll, accessioned in 1937 (37-14-7), is one of seventeen objects from Greenland donated by Samuel C. Ingraham. The collection, consisting mostly of footwear, also includes a model kayak with a human figurine and miniature harpoon. The doll came from […]

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Ladies in Fur, Traveling through Time

Eskimo (Inuit) doll from Arsuk, Greenland. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number: 37-14-7.

The Penn Museum holds a variety of dolls from Arctic environs, including those collected by William Van Valin, George Byron Gordon, Captain George Comer, and the Peary Relief Expedition. Most of the items classified as “dolls” are small wooden figures; only a few represent realistic renditions of Arctic clothing. This Inuit (Eskimo) doll from Greenland (object […]

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Into the Field: The Smith Creek Archaeological Project

One of three earthen mounds at Smith Creek. Photo by Megan Kassabaum.

The Smith Creek Archaeological Project is a new Penn Museum research project, conducting its first season in the field during the late spring of 2015. The Penn Museum’s social media coordinator, Tom Stanley, is blogging about the project. For more than 125 years, researchers from the Penn Museum have been digging on excavations throughout the […]

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Inuit Kamik from Greenland

Elizabth Peng and Karen Thomson, Curatorial Assistant at the Penn Museum, examine the lining of these Eskimo (Inuit) boots.

Fashion: Fur, Flowers, and Flannel Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Elizabeth Peng The clothes that we put on our bodies are rarely simple: they are imbued with cultural and aesthetic purposes that cannot be easily disconnected from the materials from which they are constructed. A myriad of factors come together to create the […]

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Beneath the Surface at the Penn Museum