University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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 […]

The Daily Pennsylvanian explores the secrets of the Penn Museum

By: Josh

  In the days leading up to Halloween, Julie Xie of The Daily Pennsylvanian took a tour of the Penn Museum’s galleries and storage rooms with its senior archivist Alex Pezzati. “If a ghost exists, this is a great place for them” Read More.

New York Times Spotlights Stewart Culin’s work at the Brooklyn Museum

By: Josh

Philadelphia ethnographer Stewart Culin worked as director of the Penn Museum from 1892 to 1903 and was instrumental in acquiring the Historic Games Collection. After his time here, Culin became a curator at the Brooklyn Museum and helped establish their African gallery. A recent New York Times article has more on the subject and the […]

Boy Scouts at the Penn Museum

By: Bea Jarocha-Ernst

Every day that something cool comes out of our archives image database is a good day.  There are just so many amazing photos from years gone by relating to all sorts of stuff! Most recently we came across this gem. The Development Office’s awesome intern, Jessica, has been putting together some marketing and outreach letter […]

The Tactile Experience

By: Alessandro Pezzati

I previously wrote about the Penn Museum’s close calls with visitors outraged because forbidden to paw at the granite sphinx.  But when is it okay for a visitor to handle the artifacts?  Exceptions are made, not only when you are famous, but sometimes because you are blind, and more rarely, when you are famous and […]

Do the museum guards really mistreat visitors?

By: Alessandro Pezzati

It is an eternal conundrum of museums to balance the contradictory values of preservation and access.  On the one hand, museums must protect these countless pieces of the world forever, but on the other, they’re not allowed to do it the best way, which is to put everything underground in a salt mine beneath a […]

Marvelous Monday Archaeologist of the Week – Tatiana Proskouriakoff

By: Maureen Callahan

I don’t know much about Maya hieroglyphs, but I do know that Tatiana Proskouriakoff was, by every measure, a badass. Proskouriakoff was born in Tomsk, Siberia, the daughter of aristocrats. The family traveled to the United States in late 1915, when her father was sent to supervise the manufacture and sale of weapons to Russia. […]

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.

Ellen Kohler at Gordion

By: Maureen Callahan

The woman in this image, Ellen Kohler, was an Anatolian and classical archaeologist based at the Penn Museum for the majority of her career.  In this photo, she is demonstrating the use of a quern stone at the site of Gordion, in central Turkey. Gordion is located fifty miles southwest of Ankara and is one […]

What in the World?

By: Maureen Callahan

What in the World? was the Penn Museum’s Peabody Award-winning popular weekly half-hour television program which was first seen in 1951 and broadcast for 14 years. By the early 1960s it was one of the oldest programs on television, bringing positive reviews and a steady stream of fanmail to the Museum. On each What in […]

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