University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology



By: Eric Schnittke

Since the 1990s, the archives profession has used October as a rallying point for advocacy for the important work that archivists do. What was once a week honoring archives has now become a month and is now known as Archives Month (#ArchivesMonth). Whether assisting researchers, preserving documents, or relating a historical anecdote, archivists across the […]

Portraying Nippur: Artist Osman Hamdi Bey’s Early Relationship with the Penn Museum

"At the Mosque Door"

By: Hannah Effinger

The Penn Museum is perhaps best known for its impressively large and varied collection of artifacts spanning practically the entirety of human existence, but recently visitors were given a special chance to step into the Museum Archives to learn about some unexpected items housed in the Museum—two paintings and the unique ties they have to […]

Alaska Harpoon Rest

Figure 1: Alaskan Harpoon Rest from the Sledge Island Van Valin Collection. Photo with permission from the University of Pennsylvania Museum

By: Margaret Bruchac

Alaska Harpoon Rest: Supported by Bears, Whales, and Chains Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Enika Selby This Iñupiaq (also called Eskimo or Inuit) harpoon rest (Museum Object Number: NA4796) came to the Penn Museum from Sledge Island, Alaska, a tiny island off the Western coast. It is hand carved from walrus ivory, […]

Is Elvis in the building?


By: Kate Pourshariati

In honor of the important national holiday today we highlight an ancient artifact [reel to reel tape!] from our audio-visual collections… “Plot synopsis: Archaeologists in the year 7956 explore the abandoned ruins of the long-dead civilization of North America, and attempt to decipher the meanings of its strange artifacts. Based on a short story, [by […]

Borneo Odyssey – a “Live from the Archives” performance


By: Kate Pourshariati

A visual artist born in Thailand makes use of primary source materials in the Archives in performance art.

Creating Beth Shean After Antiquity


By: Rebecca Vandewalle

This spring, I had the opportunity to sit in on a graduate seminar focusing on the ancient site of Beth Shean in northern Israel (Beth Shean After Antiquity, taught by Dr. Robert Ousterhout). When I first registered, I expected the class to be similar to other archaeology courses I had taken – mostly lectures, discussions, […]

The Emergence of Ringo and Sobek

Ringo's Introduction

By: Alyssa Velazquez

The work in the Penn Museum Archives never ends. The backlog resists attempts at taming it. The archives is happy to have a number of interns and volunteers who are willing to help organize, catalog, and preserve the documents, drawings, and photographs in the collections. Alyssa Velazquez is one such intern, who is presently reorganizing […]

Archives Photo of the Week: Mustache.


By: Eric Schnittke

The Penn Museum Archives is home to the archival collections of the directors of the museum. As you might guess, we have quite the fondness for them. None are more dear to me than George Byron Gordon and for one reason: that glorious, magnificent, noble mustache. Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum from 1910 […]

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


By: Eric Schnittke

 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 […]

Archives Photo of the Week: Baby


By: Eric Schnittke

I’ve recently returned back to the museum after having taken some time off for paternity leave (thanks to Tom Stanley for covering for me while I was gone). I’m back, but my baby is still on my mind. In honor of him, this week’s photo is of a Umatilla baby. The Umatilla people inhabited around […]

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