Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Janet Monge is Philadelphia’s Best Museum Curator

JMo-smThe Penn Museum's own Dr. Janet Monge, Keeper and Curator-in-Charge of the Museum's Physical Anthropology Section, has been named "Philly's Best Museum Curator" by Philadelphia Magazine, in the annual "Best of Philly" list featured in the magazine's August edition.

Read more: Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Janet Monge is Philadelphia’s Best Museum Curator


A World of Research: Penn Students Around the Globe

Summer is the season for exploration.

HeadShot-768x1024Italy, Greece, Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, India, China, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, U.S.A. (New Mexico and North Carolina)—this summer break, 33 University of Pennsylvania students (11 undergraduate and 23 graduate students) doing research around the country and around the world, will be funded in part by competitive Penn Museum summer field research grants.

Read more: A World of Research: Penn Students Around the Globe


Registration Now Open for 40 Winks with the Sphinx Sleepovers!

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It's a REAL night at the Museum! The Penn Museum's popular "40 Winks for the Sphinx" sleepover program returns this fall, inviting kids 6-12 and their chaperones on an overnight "expedition" through cultures of the world in our international galleries. This unique experience, delighting visitors since 2009, was recently cited as one of the "can't-miss museum sleepovers in the country" by Minitime Family Travel.

Read more: Registration Now Open for 40 Winks with the Sphinx Sleepovers!


Pepper Mill Café Offers Souvenir Activity Book to Kids

The Pepper Mill Café is serving up something new, just for kids 12 and younger. Children receive a free souvenir activity book and pack of crayons with any Café purchase.

Read more: Pepper Mill Café Offers Souvenir Activity Book to Kids


Anthropologists in the Making Summer Camp Ends First Week with "Tattoo Convention"


An unconventional convention helped kick off this year's Anthropologists in the Making Summer Camp at the Penn Museum. On Friday, June 27, more than 30 campers ages 7-13 hosted their parents for a Tattoo and Body Adornment Convention, inspired by the week's theme of Worn and Adorn.

Campers demonstrated ancient Maya body modifications, modeled wearables to represent supernatural identities, explained drop ear gauges, and imitated scarification, then "tattooed" their parents' with paint to share their newfound knowledge.

Read more: Anthropologists in the Making Summer Camp Ends First Week with "Tattoo Convention"


A "Summer With Art" in Philadelphia

PR 13 WardenFall TAS 002Philadelphia is one of the best cities in the world to experience art. From the magnificent museums of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, to renowned schools for emerging artists; from the city's carefully crafted gardens and botanical designs, to the historical creations found right here at the Penn Museum—there are countless ways to find the artistic side of Philly. And this summer, you're invited for a specially curated tour of some of the best art the city has to offer.

Read more: A "Summer With Art" in Philadelphia


Philadelphia School Teachers Share New Curricula Inspired by Penn Museum’s Native American Exhibition

In the busy months leading up to the opening of Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now, curator Lucy Fowler Williams took on one additional project: she agreed to lead a group of School District of Philadelphia teachers, K-12 educators, in a class on the upcoming exhibition, through the University of Pennsylvania's Teacher Institute of Philadelphia Program. Tuesday evenings from January to May 2014, Dr. Williams met with a dozen teachers in the Penn Museum. The classes regularly featured Native American special guest speakers and first-hand opportunities to explore material culture, history, and contemporary perspectives in Native America.

Read more: Philadelphia School Teachers Share New Curricula Inspired by Penn Museum’s Native American...


From Banners to Bags

Typically the Penn Museum is learning and sharing material culture of past civilizations. A direct partnership with Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia is allowing the Museum to donate to the creation of modern-day material culture by recycling its exterior fabric banners into messenger bags, gift bags, and lunch totes.

Read more: From Banners to Bags


Unearthed in the Archives

It’s 1:30 pm on a Friday. Alessandro Pezzati (Alex) invites guests who have come down the hallway to the iron gated Archives to enter and take a seat around a long heavy wooden table. He puts out an oversized manila folder, slightly bulging, on the table, and offers up an informal introduction to the Penn Museum Archives—the place where he has worked for more than two decades, as Senior Archivist for many of those years.

At first glance, the Archives inhabit a grand and elegant, albeit old space that seems transported from another era. One is greeted by noble painted portraits, old cabinets piled high with papers and tubes, and shelves upon shelves of grey boxes. Black ironwork circular staircases lead to an open, narrow second floor walkway, with more shelves and more boxes. The Archives is a place filled with records: archaeological and ethnographic field notes and drawings, museum correspondence, photographs, prints, and some art. Listen to Alex, though, and you soon see the Archives as a very different place: one alive with stories of the past.

Read more: Unearthed in the Archives


Exploring World History with National Geographic Learning

National Geographic Learning (NGL), who is developing a World History program for middle school students, spent a day filming behind-the-scenes and in the galleries of the Penn Museum on Monday, April 21.

When edited, the segment filmed at the Penn Museum will be part of a much larger social studies video program that complements and expands upon a print textbook to be published in 2016.

Read more: Exploring World History with National Geographic Learning


Museum's Touch Tour Program to Receive Award

Penn Museum Earns Arts Accessibility Award for Touch
Tours Program to Welcome Blind, Low-Vision Guests

art-reachPhiladelphia-based arts accessibility organization Art-Reach has named the Penn Museum one of its 2014 Commitment to Cultural Access Award recipients. Each year, Art-Reach honors organizations or individuals in Greater Philadelphia who are doing extraordinary work in the area of accessibility. The award is being bestowed as the Museum concludes the second year of its Touch Tour program for blind and low-vision guests. The award will be presented at Art-Reach's 2014 Commitment to Cultural Access Awards Celebration Thursday, April 24, 6:00 - 8:00 pm in the Penn Museum's Lower Egyptian (Sphinx) Gallery. Tickets are still available for the public to attend. 

Read more: Museum's Touch Tour Program to Receive Award


Philadelphia Science Festival 2014: Penn Museum Activities

Philadelphia Science Festival: Friday, April 25 – Saturday, May 3

PSF LogowebPenn Museum is a founding partner and a core collaborator of the fourth annual Philadelphia Science Festival, participating in festival activities around the city.

The 2014 Philadelphia Science Festival is a citywide collaboration that brings together nine exciting days, April 25 through May 3, filled with events that showcase science and technology in everyday life. Part of a national movement to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, it builds on Philadelphia's rich history of innovation with more than 100 events and 175 partner organizations around the Philadelphia area. Learn more at

Read more: Philadelphia Science Festival 2014: Penn Museum Activities


John Rockwell, Jeremy Sabloff to Receive Museum Medals

Jeremy A. Sabloff, John R. Rockwell Honored at the Penn Museum April 25
New Recipients of the Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal, Marian Angell Godfrey Boyer Medal

MedalswebIt turns out that 1964 was a very fine year! Two prestigious Penn Museum medals—the Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal and the Marian Angell Godfrey Boyer Medal—will be awarded to two members of the University of Pennsylvania's 50th Reunion Class of 1964 at a special Museum dinner on April 25, 2014.

The Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal will be presented to Jeremy A. Sabloff, Ph.D. The Marian Angell Godfrey Boyer Medal will be awarded to John R. Rockwell. They will be honored at a dinner attended by their families and several of their classmates, as well as the Penn Museum's leadership, Board of Overseers, and members of the Loren Eiseley Society.

"We are thrilled to be able to recognize two extraordinary people, both of whom have served the Penn Museum generously and have been wonderful ambassadors for all we do," noted Julian Siggers, Ph.D., Williams Director, Penn Museum.

"We celebrate Jeremy Sabloff, past Williams Director, for his significant achievements in the field of Maya studies, with the Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal. It is a pleasure, as well, to be able to present our Marian Angell Godfrey Boyer Medal, aptly called our 'Angell' award, to a real life Museum 'angel' Rick Rockwell, who has supported our research, collections stewardship, and exhibition programs so generously."

Read more: John Rockwell, Jeremy Sabloff to Receive Museum Medals


No Dinosaurs? No More!

No bones about it—the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is all about the history and culture of humankind, NOT dinosaurs.

Until now.

Lisa G and Brandon with boneMeet Nothronychus graffami (okay, the right humerus of Northronychus graffami) hailing from the Tropic Shale of southern Utah.

According to Brandon Hedrick, Ph.D. candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, this bone is part of a therizinosaurid, who lived a while back—somewhere between 90 and 95 million years ago. Therizinosaurids are a group of theropod dinosaurs that appear to be herbivorous rather than carnivorous as is typical for theropods. They most resemble giant sloths. Nothronychus actually means 'sloth claw.

Read more: No Dinosaurs? No More!


Forgotten Egyptian Dynasty Discovered

Tomb-webPenn Museum archaeologists working at the southern Egyptian site of Abydos have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh: Woseribre Senebkay—and the first material proof of a forgotten Abydos Dynasty, ca. 1650–1600 BC. Working in cooperation with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, a team from the Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania, discovered king Senebkay's tomb close to a larger royal tomb, recently identified as belonging to a king Sobekhotep (probably Sobekhotep I, ca. 1780 BC) of the 13th Dynasty.

The discovery, released January 15, 2014, is making international headlines.

Read more about the excavations, led by Dr. Josef Wegner, Egyptian Section Associate Curator of the Penn Museum, and this history-making discovery, online.

Image: Team members work to excavate the burial chamber of the pharaoh Woseribre Senebkay, with sheets covering a painted wall decoration (Photo: Josef Wegner, Penn Museum).


“Nordic Grog” An Ancient Scandinavian Treat

HavorhoardwebIt turns out the ancient peoples of Scandinavia had more than a blazing fire to keep them warm. New biomolecular archaeological evidence recently published by Patrick E. McGovern, Scientific Director, Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the Penn Museum, and colleagues, points to a "Nordic Grog" with a long history. From northwest Denmark, circa 1500–1300 BC, to the Swedish island of Gotland as late as the first century AD, Nordic peoples were imbibing an alcoholic "grog" or extreme hybrid beverage rich in local ingredients, including honey, bog cranberry, lingonberry, bog myrtle, yarrow, juniper, birch tree resin, and cereals including wheat, barley and/or rye—and sometimes, grape wine imported from southern or central Europe.

Read about the latest chapter in Dr. McGovern's decades-long quest to understand the cultural and gustatorial history of alcoholic beverages here.

Photo: Ancient Roman imported drinking-set, comprised of a bucket (situla), a ladle and strainer-cup nested together, and several "sauce pans" or drinking cups, from a hoard under the floor of a settlement at Havor (Sweden) in the southern part of the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, first century AD (Photograph courtesy of E. Nylén and Statens Historiska Museum, Stockholm).


Touch Tours Program Featured by Associated Press

DSC 1345-smThe Penn Museum's "Insights into Ancient Egypt" Touch Tour program is back for its second year, offering blind and visually impaired visitors the unique opportunity to experience select Museum objects with their hands. Now, the national media have taken notice, with an illuminating article and video created by the Associated Press.

Watch the video below, and click here to read the full article.

Read more: Touch Tours Program Featured by Associated Press


Mayor's VIP Program Honors HS Freshmen

Mayor's VIPs Freshman Awards Ceremony at Penn Museum Celebrates Effort, Education

MarianawebIt was an afternoon for celebration, inspiration, and parental pride at the Penn Museum Thursday, November 21, as the Mayor's VIPs Program acknowledged—and rewarded—hundreds of Philadelphia High School freshman who have obtained perfect school attendance this semester.

Read more: Mayor's VIP Program Honors HS Freshmen


West Philadelphia Students Kick Off Sphinx Celebration

DSC 0121More than 100 sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from the neighboring Lea and the Penn Alexander schools in West Philadelphia visited the Penn Museum on Friday, October 18, to help kick off the centennial celebration of the Penn Museum's Sphinx—the largest in the Western Hemisphere—in  Philadelphia.

Read more: West Philadelphia Students Kick Off Sphinx Celebration


“Touch Tours” for Blind Visitors Return to the Penn Museum

Penn Museum Welcomes Overbrook School for the Blind
as First Guests for Expanded "Touch Tours" Program

touch tour overbrook school copyPenn Museum's "Insights to Ancient Egypt" Touch Tours program for blind and low-vision visitors is off and running for a second season, now through December 16. Trish Maunder, Project Coordinator for Special Tours and a disabilities program consultant for the Penn Museum, expanded and revamped the Touch Tours program in response to feedback from members of the community. New for 2013 is a longer tour, assistant docents who themselves are blind or have low vision, the opportunity to touch and feel stone artifacts in the Upper Egypt gallery, a classroom mummification component allowing guests to feel replicas of a brain hook, canopic jar and special commissioned scale replicas of artifacts too large or too fragile to handle directly.

Read more: “Touch Tours” for Blind Visitors Return to the Penn Museum


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