University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore a topic of interest, please use the Blog Search function.


Seeking Zen in the Museum Storeroom: What Do X-Files, Gurgling Sounds, and Museums Have in Common?

Clockwise from top left: Daniel LoMastro, Ashley Scott, Laura Hazeltine, and Yin Liu in the sub-basement, 2015.  Ashley completed her MA in Egyptology at Penn and is now working with the Egyptian Section on collections storage renovation.  Yin is currently pursuing an MA in Museum Anthropology at Columbia University.

By: Lucy Fowler Williams

Something HUGE has been happening at the Penn Museum in one of seven American Section storerooms. For the past two years, downstairs in the sub-basement (the basement below the basement), in a room about the size of a football field, two small teams of Inventory Assistants have been moving carefully from shelf to shelf, checking […]

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1966 Film Made in the Navajo Nation Gets Sound 50 years Later

Maxine and Mary Jane Tsosie with their Grandfather Sam Yazzie

By: Kate Pourshariati

Thanks to a unique set of circumstances a developing relationship has borne fruit this year for the Museum Archives. A film made in 1966 by Dr. Richard Chalfen, who generously donated his work to the Museum a few years ago, was never quite complete; it was lacking a sound track. In 2015 our Film Archivist […]

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#My Penn Museum: Q & A with Patricia Kim, Doctoral Student

patriciakim

By: Stephanie Mach

Everyone has their own experience with the Penn Museum. Join us as we uncover the many ways Penn students, both undergraduate and graduate, engage with the Museum’s many opportunities. Interviews by Leo Page-Blau, Penn Museum Student Engagement Assistant. Patricia Kim Year 4th year Ph.D. Candidate Alma Mater  University of California, Berkeley, 2012 Penn Degree Program […]

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A Conservation “Vacation”

A shot of me working in the archaeological conservation lab at Colonial Williamsburg in 2004

By: Molly Gleeson

For three weeks in April, we had an intern working with us in the Conservation Department, specifically, with me in the Artifact Lab. I hesitate to call her an intern because this “intern” is someone who has at least ten more years of experience than I do as a conservator. In fact, she was one of […]

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Maya and Guatemalan History in Film — Live from the Archives

people in Guatemala celebrate the end of a reign of terror

By: Kate Pourshariati

Archival Guatemalan footage from 1940 enriches a new film covering a long span of history.

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The Workers of Ur – Ur Project May 2016

Local Sheikhs at Ur, taken during the first season (1922) when Woolley was establishing himself with the locals. UPM Field Photo 190027.

By: Kyra Kaercher

Charles Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur (1922-1934) occurred during a time of change in Iraq. After WWI, Iraq became part of a British Mandate, with Faisal I as King. Iraq was an area filled with both sedentary and traveling tribes led by Sheikhs. In the new nation of Iraq, archaeological sites, and their remains, belonged […]

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Boys of Sumer: Nasir and Clarence – by Kamillia Scott

Nippur Timebook

By: Sarah Linn

This is part of a series of three blog posts by the 2015-2016 Penn Museum Fellows. The Penn Museum Fellows program is a new initiative that aims to support and promote advanced undergraduate research at the Penn Museum. As a Penn Museum Fellow I have worked with an abundance of materials in the Archives, and […]

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Buddhist Medicine

2003-42-9

By: Stephen Lang

The Asian Section is happy to host a guest blog post by C. Pierce Salguero, Assistant Professor of Asian History and Religious Studies at Penn State University’s Abington College. He is the author of Translating Buddhist Medicine in Medieval China, published by Penn Press in 2014. (Photo selection and captions by Stephen Lang) Medicine in Early Buddhism Knowledge […]

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Eastern Turkey Feather Headdress

Examining headdress styles at the Penn Museum. In the center is a Haudenosaunee gustoweh, topped with curling partridge and hawk feathers.

By: Margaret Bruchac

This object analysis was conducted for the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast. Students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are […]

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Considering the Feather Headdress

Cabinet card showing a group of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) medicine show entertainers. Period inscription on the back of the card reads: “Caughnawaga [Mohawk] Indians with the Kickapoo Medicine Company. Season 1891. R.W. Telford, Manager.” Photos courtesy of Gerry Biron. Private collection.

By: Margaret Bruchac

During the Spring 2016 course Ethnohistory of the Native Northeast, students are studying Native American objects in the Penn Museum collections by combining close material analyses (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with other forms of evidence: textual, photographic, historical, and ethnographic. In many cases, the objects we’re studying have little to no provenance data. So, we are seeking out similar objects, reaching out […]

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The Golden Age of King Midas

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