Winemaking the Armenian Way

Vitis VininiferaA group of archaeologists working in Armenia had something to toast in the new year: they announced that they had unearthed a surprisingly advanced winemaking operation, discovered in a cave hear a remote Armenian village. The operation dates back 6,000 years-making it the earliest known site in the world for wine-making with grapes!

This exciting new discovery was reported in the peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. Journalists from the Associated Press, The New York Times, Washington Post, and National Geographic News Online, among others, contacted Penn Museum experts to get feedback and perspective on this latest discovery from Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory and author of the award-winning, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages, Univ. California, 2010/2011, and from Dr. Naomi F. Miller, Research Project Manager, Near East Section, for National Geographic.

"99% of the wine we drink today stems from that earliest grapevine domestication event that now seems clearly to have taken place in that region."
- Dr. Pat McGovern

Photo (top): Vitis vinifera (pl. winorośl szlachetna), Wikimedia Commons.

Read more: Winemaking the Armenian Way


Penn Museum's NAGPRA Repatriation Program

During a Tlingit consultation visit in January 2008, Andrew Gamble, Jr. (Kaagwaantaan clan leader), Herman Davis (L’ooknax. ádi clan leader), and Tom Young (Kaagwaantaan Box House leader) donned Tlingit clan regalia, including three hats in the Penn Museum’s collections. Photo by Robert W. Preucel Central to the mission of the Penn Museum, is the preservation of cultural heritage as expressed in the Pennsylvania Declaration issued at the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

On 17 November 1990, The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was signed into law. As of 2010, 39 formal repatriation claims seeking the return of collections have been received by the Penn Museum. Twenty-four repatriations have been completed resulting in the transfer of 226 sets of human remains, 750 funerary objects, 14 unassociated funerary objects, 19 objects of cultural patrimony, 16 sacred objects and 1 object claimed as both cultural patrimony and sacred. Read more about Penn Museum's NAGPRA program

In October 2010, former Penn Museum volunteer Warren Kamensky made a generous donation to endow the position of NAGPRA Coordinator in the American Section—the position currently held by Stacey Espenlaub. The NAGPRA Coordinator position continues to support increasingly important initiatives, not only in the care of our collection, but also in developing and maintaining relationships with the tribes and native communities of North America.

Read the full blog post

Read the Press Release


U.S. Soldiers Stop at the Penn Museum for Cultural Heritage Training

Brian Rose and soldiers in  Sixty-two U.S. soldiers from Fort Dix, New Jersey, among the last Civil Affairs troops soon to deploy to Iraq for an assist and advisory mission, visited the Penn Museum on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, as part of the 14 unit pre-deployment training-training that emphasizes cultural heritage awareness.

They were greeted by Dr. C. Brian Rose, Deputy Director, Penn Museum, and President of the Archaeological Institute of America. Dr. Rose has been offering American troops headed to Iraq and Afghanistan cultural heritage training since 2004.

Soldiers were divided up in to four groups, and taken on tours of the Museum, with stops at the exhibition Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands (featuring artifacts from, and the story of, Penn Museum's first expedition to Iraq in the 1880s and 90s) and the ancient Near East storage (where Keeper Katy Blanchard and senior conservator Lynn Grant showed materials from the 1920s-early 30s excavation to Ur in Iraq).

Read more: U.S. Soldiers Stop at the Penn Museum for Cultural Heritage Training


Penn Museum Celebrates as the South Street Bridge Reopens

IMG_9681webWhen the City of Philadelphia reopened the South Street Bridge—closed since fall 2008—to pedestrians and bike riders at 2:00 pm on Saturday afternoon, November 6, 2010, staff and volunteers of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, joined in the celebration.

Two Penn Museum "mascots"—dressed in costumes inspired by Penn Museum artifacts on display in the galleries—hopped aboard a taxi (a velopark cab bike taxi, that is) and took to the bridge. The message they carried, with fellow volunteers: visit the nearby Penn Museum, and come in a “green” way. “Green” options, judging by the many regional residents out to celebrate the bridge’s opening, include walking, roller blading, biking, marching, bike taxis, jogging, even skateboarding, on over.

Read more: Penn Museum Celebrates as the South Street Bridge Reopens


Penn Museum is the winner of the 2010 ici Mobile App Award

Penn Museum is about to go mobile, thanks to our dedicated supporters who voted everyday to help us win the 2010 ici Mobile App Award.

Our deepest thanks to all who participated in this effort to mobilize the Penn Museum! A very special thanks goes to Goodnoe School in Bucks County whose field trip experience at the Museum inspired them to vote us all the way to victory!

The award, offered by ici, is valued at $50,000. The contest was open to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations operating in the Mid-Atlantic region (defined as the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC) offering publicly accessible programming or services.

Read more: Penn Museum is the winner of the 2010 ici Mobile App Award


Blogging from the Silk Road

Follow Jeremy's Silk Road BlogIn conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Secrets of the Silk Road, the Penn Museum launches the On the Silk Road Blog. Jeremy Pine, PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Anthropology, blogs about his travels along the modern day silk route from Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China.

Read more: Blogging from the Silk Road


Vote for the Penn Museum iPhone App

Penn Museum submitted an application to win the free development of an iPhone App from Please vote for the Penn Museum! You can vote once a day. Click the below icon to VOTE NOW!

Please vote for us to win an iPhone AppPenn Museum hopes to go mobile in order to extend our mission beyond our walls, and beyond our existing social media platforms. An iPhone app will serve to "curate" the visitor experience and make our window on the world a bit more transparent. With a collection of one million objects, over 400 research expeditions around the world, an active events schedule, countless conservation projects, myriad archaeology and anthropology exhibitions, the app will put the world in your pocket.

The proposed iPhone app will make available free podcasts and videos of lectures, digitized collections, and archival materials from our 120 year history in some of the most important excavations around the globe.

The 2010 ici iPhone App Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region will award a custom iPhone app, valued at $50,000, to a nonprofit cultural organization in the Mid-Atlantic region. We will develop and publish the iPhone/iPod Touch app using the ici mobile platform.

Eligibility: Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations operating in the Mid-Atlantic region (defined as the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC) offering publicly accessible programming or services.


CNN Visits Penn Museum to Follow Story of "Duffy's Cut" Excavations in Malvern, PA

IMG_9185What really happened to the Irish immigrants 175 years ago?

Dr. Janet Monge, Keeper of the Skeletal Collections at the Penn Museum, was interviewed by CNN in the Museum's Anthropology wing, where she is analyzing human remains from an active excavation site at Malvern: Duffy's Cut.

IMG_9195The segment ran on "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer, Friday, August 20. Watch the video

CNN photojournalist Joe Capolarello moves in for the close ups,including a look at what appears to be a bullet hole. Also on hand were Meghan Rafferty, CNN Producer (in pink shirt) and Mary Snow, CNN correspondent.

IMG_9180New discoveries at Duffy's Cut are telling a remarkable tale about the lives--and once mysterious deaths--of a group of 57 Irish immigrant railroad workers, once thought to have died of cholera.

The Duffy's Cut Project, named for that area of the railroad, is exploring early-19th-century attitudes about industry, disease and immigration through the excavation and analysis of the laborers' skeletons. The group is led by Immaculata University's Dr. William E. Watson, who received his MA and Ph.D. from Penn.


Volunteer Docents for Secrets of the Silk Road

Penn Museum Is Now Accepting Applications for Its Volunteer Docent Program

Penn Museum is currently accepting applications for a new group of weekday and/or weekend Volunteer Docents, with training to begin in October.

Volunteer Docents receive free training by a host of University of Pennsylvania Museum staff and scholars, including leading archaeologists and other researchers active in the field. They develop and lead tours through Penn Museum’s permanent and special exhibition galleries, featuring materials from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Americas, Africa, the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and more. Docents guide a wide range of school and adult groups, Tuesdays through Fridays, as well as some weekends.

Read more: Volunteer Docents for Secrets of the Silk Road


Multimedia Tours for the Deaf

CJ Jones Signs the ASL ToursPenn Museum is developing Multimedia Tours for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing due for release in Fall 2010. The Museum has partnered with SignWorld TV, an all-deaf production company, to produce the Highlights of the Galleries Tour in American Sign Language (ASL). The video tour will feature actor and comedian CJ Jones signing in the galleries. Deaf and hearing audiences alike will benefit from watching and listening to the tour as CJ Jones' animated interpretation of the objects brings new expression to the people and cultures who created them. The tours will be available to the public on iPods as well as downloadable files on the web.

Read more: Multimedia Tours for the Deaf


Sign the Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood - Saturday, Aug 21

Treaty of Renewed BrotherhoodFulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania tells the story of the Lenape people who remained in Pennsylvania in secret after many were driven west in the beginning of the 19th century. Children of the little known Lenape-European marriages of the 1700s stayed on the Lenape homelands and continued to practice their traditions covertly. Hiding their heritage, they avoided discovery by both the government and their neighbors for more than two hundred years.

More info at

Watch the live event on Saturday, August 21 at noon on


Read more: Sign the Treaty of Renewed Brotherhood - Saturday, Aug 21


TODAY Show at the Penn Museum: Stay Tuned!

TODAY Show at the Penn Museum: Priceless!
Scheduled Air Time: Saturday, July 10 (check local listings for TODAY Show times)

Amy Robach and Robert Wittman with Penn Museum's famous crystal ball.Over the years, Robert K. Wittman, Undercover Agent and Founder, FBI Art Crime Team, has worked with a number of archaeologists and staff members at the Penn Museum, on everything from getting help identifying "real" verses "fake," to coordinating training sessions with fledgling art crime team members in the FBI.

Read more: TODAY Show at the Penn Museum: Stay Tuned!


Penn's Power Down Challenge

Penn issued a "Power Down Challenge" to encourage staff to turn off the lights, shut down office computers, copiers and printers from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2010. This exercise in powering down will allow Penn to gauge the amount of energy it can conserve on a regular basis. In support of this effort, the Penn Museum hosted a "Power Down Garden Party" in the Warden Garden to encourage participation.

Read more: Penn's Power Down Challenge


Annual Fund Challenge: Double Your Donation

Annual Fund Challenge 2010
Make twice the difference today!

Now, more than ever, the Penn Museum needs the help of its friends and supporters to continue to accomplish our important mission of serving as an acclaimed research institution that also presents compelling exhibitions and programs.

A number of very generous members of the Museum’s Board of Overseers have given the Museum a challenge that can DOUBLE your support if you make a donation to the Annual Fund today

Double your DonationThey will match every gift to the Annual Fund by the end of our fiscal year, June 30th, dollar for dollar up to $100,000.

GIVE TODAY to make twice the difference in funding everything from keeping our lights on and our doors open to caring for our artifacts, educating children and adults, and presenting new exhibitions.


Travel Europe with Dr. David Silverman

Travel to Berlin and Paris with the Women's Committee and Dr. David Silverman
October 14 - 24, 2010

woco_ParisThe Women’s Committee of the Penn Museum hosts custom-designed travel experiences to exciting destinations, accompanied by curators and educators.  Experience the excitement of Berlin and Paris through the handcrafted itinerary of David Silverman. Begin in Berlin then venture to Paris. These exciting destinations will afford unique access and unparalleled understanding of their rich cultural and historic treasures. Unique to this travel adventure will be additional venues arranged by David Silverman, with ample opportunity to embark on individual pursuits. The tour agency will arrange access to event tickets. Experienced museum travel, exciting destinations, first class accommodations and superior planning combine to make this an irresistible opportunity. Read more


Cleopatra Visits the Penn Museum

Jennifer Wegner interviewed by Channel 6 ABCDr. Jennifer Wegner, Associate Curator, Egyptian Section, Penn Museum, knows a thing or two about Cleopatra, having taught a Penn course devoted to the famous queen and her times. While she was being interviewed by Channel 6 ABC's Niki Hawkins about Cleopatra, she had one very intent listener-Cleopatra herself.

With Cleopatra: Search for the Last Queen of Egypt opening at The Franklin Institute Saturday, June 5, and the Penn Museum joining in the celebration with a "Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt" self-guided tour of the ancient Egyptian Galleries, it wasn't too surprising that Cleopatra (or a reasonable facsimile of the famous last pharaoh of Egypt, Channel 6 intern Brittany Boyer) came visiting.

cleo1Cleopatra toured the Museum's Upper and Lower Egyptian Galleries, pausing at the famous sphinx, and again, at an elegant sculpture dating to her father's reign during the Ptolemaic Period.

In royal fashion, she paid a visit to the Penn Museum's own great queen--that is, the lavish jewelry and magnificent headdress of the ancient Mesopotamian Queen Pu-abi of 4,500 years ago. Archaeologists still haven't found Cleopatra's tomb--care to predict who was buried with more ancient bling? Cleopatra didn't tell us--but was that an envious eye that beheld the earlier queen's finery?


Cleopatra meets Pu-Abi


Penn Museum Hits the NYC Happy Hour Scene

GPTMCPenn Museum’s Pam Kosty enjoyed a NYC media cocktail party hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation May 25 at Buddakan. Philly’s own The Roots were on hand, as well as representatives from Victory Brewing Company (Bill Covaleski), the upcoming Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (Dawn Frisby Byers), and Philly’s hot new Hotel Palomar (Peggy Trott and Chef Guillermo Tellez).

Read more: Penn Museum Hits the NYC Happy Hour Scene


Egyptologist David Silverman Honored in Cairo

Penn Museum Egyptologist David P. Silverman Honored
with Two-Volume Festschrift Publication and Celebration in Cairo

Millions of Jubilees Volume 1A Festschrift celebration honoring the lifetime achievements of Dr. David P. Silverman was held in Cairo, Egypt, at the headquarters of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities on Saturday, May 8, 2010. The celebration party was hosted by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's Secretary General, Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Read more: Egyptologist David Silverman Honored in Cairo


Penn Museum Hosts Chess League Finals

The Blankenburg Elementary Chess ChampsChess League Finals at the Penn Museum Determine the City Champs!

Penn Museum congratulates all the teams who competed in the Philadelphia Scholastic Chess League Finals under the ominous gaze of the Sphinx. The Chess Challenge is an after-school program organized by After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP). Sixty-nine teams at the elementary, middle and high school levels, began the season competing in weekly matches across Philadelphia, but in the end, only three teams emerged victorious at the event hosted in the Lower Egyptian Gallery at the Penn Museum.

The Sphinx Said to Move Your PawnSince 2004, ASAP has annually organized over 200 chess clubs for 4,000 youth playing in schools, community and recreation centers, libraries, places of worship and homeless shelters across the city. Created in 2002 in response to a civic outcry for help with activities for the city’s youth during the critical unsupervised hours after school, ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships has provided after school recreational and enrichment activities to Philadelphia kids in some of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the city. Read more about ASAP


Free Admission to "Ancient Rome & America"

Discover Ancient Worlds on Both Sides of the City

Penn Museum offers visitors a chance to step back in time and explore ancient Greece and Italy with its suite of galleries, Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks and Romans. The Museum has teamed up with the National Constitution Center, now showing Ancient Rome and America (through August 1, 2010) to offer you a complementary experience—at a discount!

If you are a Penn Museum member
...or if you join today, you can show your Penn Museum membership card for FREE ADMISSION to the National Constitution Center and its special exhibition, now through August 1, 2010.

Just visiting?
Keep your Penn Museum admission receipt dated from March 1 through August 1, 2010, and use it for $2 off admission to Ancient Rome and America at the National Constitution Center, now through August 1, 2010 (one discount offer per receipt).

National Constitution Center
Ancient Rome and AmericaAncient Rome & America
February 19 – August 1, 2010
$2 off when you present Penn Museum ticket stub

The eagle is a classic symbol shared by ancient Rome and America. The American eagle on display in the exhibition is carved from gilt wood. It was made in 1804 by Samuel McIntire, an important early American architect.  Courtesy Lynn Museum and Historical Society Discover the cultural, political, and social connections between the lost world of ancient Rome and modern America. The 8,000 square foot exhibition features more than 300 artifacts from Italy and the United States, bringing together a never-before-seen collection from Italy’s leading archaeological institutions in Florence, Naples, and Rome, paired with objects from over 40 lending institutions in the United States.

Exhibition highlights include:

  • A Roman bronze eagle and American gilt eagle depicting the classic symbol shared by ancient Rome and America

  • Roman busts of Scipio Africanus, Julius Caesar, and Cicero
  • Busts of the Founding Fathers portrayed in togas
  • Remnants from Pompeii, including a preserved piece of a wall fresco, and the cast of a man frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius

Get tickets and information
National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Worlds IntertwinedWorlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans
$2 off adult admission/$1 off senior admission when you present National Constitution Center ticket stub

Roman Marble ReliefExplore the rich, interconnected cultures of the sun-drenched ancient Mediterranean—and discover anew how these cultures continue to influence and inspire our world today. Worlds Intertwined, a suite of galleries at the Penn Museum, features more than 1,400 ancient artifacts, including marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, metalwork, mosaics, glass vessels, gold and silver coins, and painted pottery. The objects, drawn from the Museum’s outstanding Mediterranean collection, help tell the remarkable, interwoven stories of the ancient Greeks (1050-31 BCE); the Etruscan peoples, the first great rulers of central Italy (800-100 BCE); and their empire-building Roman successors (500 BCE-500 CE).


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Monday: CLOSED


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