American Section Collection Highlights


The collections of the American Section are the largest of the Penn Museum, numbering approximately 300,000 archaeological and ethnographic specimens. They span the continents of North and South America from Alaska to Argentina, and documenthuman habitation and history from the ancient past to the present day. More than half the specimens are archaeological in nature, and most were acquired on more than 100 archaeological and ethnographic collecting expeditions initiated by Museum and University faculty and staff as early as 1895.


The collections hold objects of everyday life, such as weapons and tools, hunting and fishing equipment, boats, clothing, medicines, raw materials, musical instruments, ornaments, toys and games, household utensils, and ceremonial items. In addition to objects acquired through research, many items came to the Section through donations, which continue today. We actively collect North America items as opportunities arise. The most varied components of our American holdings are the North American ethnographic collections, approximately 40,000 specimens attributed to 200 tribes and organized by geographic region: Arctic, Sub-Arctic, Northwest Coast, Plateau, California, Great Basin, Southwest, Great Plains, Southeast, and Northeast. The strongest collections are those systematically created via study and expedition in Alaska, the Northwest Coast, Southwest, Southeast, and Sub- arctic regions.

1 - 20 of 23 Objects
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36-19-3
Object On Display
L-16-382
Object On Display
SA4627
SA4681
Clovis Projectile Point
36-19-3
View Object | 153980
Stela
L-16-382
View Object | 53256
Effigy Vessel
SA4627
View Object | 53266
Bowl (uncertain)
SA4681
View Object | 193341

38251A
NA3882
Object On Display
NA3881A
Object On Display
SA1835
War Shirt
38251A
View Object | 153148
Finger Mask
NA3882
View Object | 153807
Finger Mask
NA3881A
View Object | 153397
Pot
SA1835
View Object | 52841

31-29-13
29-77-703
39-20-9
38-14-1
House Post
31-29-13
View Object | 53656
Seed Jar
29-77-703
View Object | 53272
Effigy Vessel
39-20-9
View Object | 26214
Vase
38-14-1
View Object | 71751

42-35-190
SA771
NA11783
NA3881B
Object On Display
Blouse
42-35-190
View Object | 26212
Headdress
SA771
View Object | 53254
Tunghak Mask
NA11783
View Object | 153519
Powder Charger
NA3881B
View Object | 153635

53-1-17
Object On Display
40-13-11
36-19-2
Object On Display
36-19-16
Object On Display
Lacrosse Stick
53-1-17
View Object | 153588
Plaque
40-13-11
View Object | 53277
Clovis Projectile Point
36-19-2
View Object | 153446
Folsom Point
36-19-16
View Object | 153307

1 - 20 of 23 Objects
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