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 the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.

Hot pepper and ice – and the earliest photograph of soccer north of the Arctic Circle


By: Alessandro Pezzati

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has begun in Brazil this afternoon.  Since it is being played in a tropical country this year, the Penn Museum Archives thought it fitting to show what is most likely the earliest photograph of a soccer game played north of the Arctic Circle. Taken at Point Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost […]

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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 […]

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The Ainu People and an Early Anthropological Friendship Across an Ocean

By: Alison Miner

Given this rhetoric, and the colonial relationship between the Japanese government and the Ainu peoples, it is not surprising that their culture was not well studied for many years. In 1900, however, a traveler from Philadelphia, Hiram Hiller, took a detour from his pan-Asian journeys to visit Hokkaido. He met Jenichiro Oyabe, a Japanese man who was educated as a missionary, but who became a self-trained ethnographer of the Ainu people.

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Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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