Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama
Opens at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia February 7, 2015
PHILADELPHIA, PA—For more than a thousand years, a cemetery on the banks of the Rio Grande Coclé in Panama lay undisturbed, escaping the attention of gold seekers and looters. The river flooded in 1927, scattering beads of gold along its banks. In 1940, a Penn Museum team led by archaeologist J. Alden Mason excavated at the cemetery, unearthing spectacular finds—large golden plaques and pendants with animal-human motifs, precious and semi-precious stone, ivory, and animal bone ornaments, and literally tons of detail-rich painted ceramics. It was extraordinary evidence of a sophisticated Precolumbian people, the Coclé, who lived, died, and painstakingly buried their dead long ago.
Special Events, Winter/Spring 2015
From an opening day celebration, to special Panamanian menu items in the café, to lectures, family activities, a young professionals' "Gold Diggers" tax time party, and Penn Museum members-only opportunities, visitors can unearth more while exploring the new exhibition. For details and updates, visit www.penn.museum/beneath or www.penn.museum/events-calendar
Renowned Native American Writers and Activists Suzan Harjo, Mary Kathryn Nagle
Join with Theater Director Matt Pfeiffer to Present My Father's Bones at the Penn Museum
PHILADELPHIA, PA January 20, 2015—The Penn Museum hosts a staged reading of My Father's Bones, a short play by nationally renowned Native American writers and activists Suzan Shown Harjo and Mary Kathryn Nagle, Thursday, February 12, 5:30 pm. The play recounts the ongoing struggle of three sons to recover the remains of their father—the unmatched Olympian Jim Thorpe—from the Borough of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, for reburial with his relatives on Sac and Fox Nation land in Oklahoma. The free program, sponsored by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum and presented in conjunction with the Museum's Native American Voices exhibition, concludes with a panel discussion and reception.
The first version of My Father's Bones was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Von Marie Atchley Excellence in Playwriting Award and performed at the Autry Center of the American West in Los Angeles. This revision is staged by Philadelphia-based director Matt Pfeiffer, recently nominated for the 2014 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Direction of Play for his direction of Down Past Passyunk, at InterAct Theater Company in Philadelphia.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
According to Chinese tradition, people born in the year of the sheep are tender, wise, and polite, with an affinity for art and beauty, and a preference for quiet living. The zodiac foretells that these people should play sports, avoid eating too much greasy food, and set an aquarium in the western or northern side of their home to encourage wealth. Celebrities born in the year of the sheep include Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, Anderson Cooper, and Norristown native Maria Bello.
— from The Chinese Zodiac
PHILADELPHIA, PA—Help shepherd in the Year of the Sheep at the Penn Museum's 34th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 31, 2015, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The daylong extravaganza features traditional music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, a special focus on Chinese health and wellness practices, calligraphy demonstrations, vegetable carving, family crafts and tours, even a Chinese marketplace. As always, the celebration concludes with a drum roll and a roar—the grand finale lion dance. The celebration, one of the oldest in Philadelphia, is free with Museum admission donation ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders).
"Mummies Outside the Box" and Inside the Museum
As Relâche New Music Ensemble Accompanies Silent Films at the Penn Museum
Sunday, January 25, 2015
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Museum Offers Mummy Tour at 2:00 pm; Ensemble Performs at 3:00 pm
PHILADELPHIA, January 2015—The spotlight is on new music, old movies, and very old mummies Sunday afternoon, January 25 at the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street in Philadelphia, as Relâche, Philadelphia's internationally renowned new music ensemble, presents "Mummies Outside the Box." The 3:00 pm program is the second in a three part Relâche-in-Residence series, Music for the Mystery of Silents.
To get concert-goers in the spirit, the Penn Museum offers a special optional mummy-focused gallery tour, "Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt," with Paul Verhelst, University of Pennsylvania Egyptology graduate student, at 2:00 pm.
Relâche concert tickets are just $15 ($10 for Museum members), in advance or at the door, while supplies last. Concert guests with tickets may arrive early to join the 2:00 pm gallery tour, or enter and explore the Museum's international galleries—including galleries featuring its extensive ancient Egyptian collections, The Egyptian Mummy: Secrets and Science, and In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies—beginning 2:00 pm on the day of the concert. January 25 tickets may be purchased at the Penn Museum online calendar (www.penn.museum/calendar).
High-resolution satellite images reveal the condition of six ancient Syrian sites with major historical and cultural significance
The report analyzes six of the 12 sites that Syria has nominated as World Heritage Sites: Dura Europos, Ebla, Hama’s Waterwheels, Mari, Raqqa, and Ugarit. A forthcoming report will analyze the additional six sites.
“As we continue to study the conditions at Syria’s important cultural sites, we have observed significant destruction that is largely the result of conflict. However, unlike our previous analysis of Syria’s World Heritage Sites, we’re seeing a lot of damage that appears to be the result of widespread looting,” said Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, which authored the report. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center and the Smithsonian Institution also contributed to the research.
For the most updated information on programs offered at the Penn Museum, and for online pre-registration (optional or required for some programs) visit the Museum's website: www.penn.museum/calendar.
'Wednesday, January 7, 6:00 pm
Great Wonders Lecture Series
Searching for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 BCE) is infamous in the Bible for having destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. However, he is also famous in classical sources for having built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. During his reign, Nebuchadnezzar commissioned numerous building projects at Babylon; the remains of many of these were found by German archaeologist Robert Koldewey, who conducted extensive excavations at Babylon from 1899 until the outbreak of the First World War. But did he find the remains of the Hanging Gardens? Dr. Grant Frame, Associate Curator, Penn Museum Babylonian Section, discusses. Admission with advance registration: $5; $10 at the door based on availability. Register here.
Special Savings Days December 3 through 7
PHILADELPHIA November 2014— With the holiday season approaching, the Museum Shop at the Penn Museum is ready with a wide variety of unusual and one-of-a-kind gift options with one thing in common: they all draw upon a world of human diversity, ingenuity, artistry, and plain old fun, through time and across the continents.
Shoppers can save 10% (20% for Museum members) at the Annual Holiday Sale from Wednesday, December 3 through Sunday, December 7. (On Wednesday night, the popular Great Wonders lecture series continues at 6 pm and the Shop stays open until 8 pm; on Saturday, December 6, families can shop and play, when the Museum offers its free annual Peace Around the World holiday celebration.) University of Pennsylvania staff and student, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania staff (with PennCard or employee ID) enjoy 15% off.
As always, the Museum Shop offers up a wide range of fair trade arts and crafts from around the world, as well as clothing, accessories, books, and jewelry inspired by ancient and contemporary world cultures and the Penn Museum's expansive international collections.
Free Family Holiday Celebration Returns to the Penn Museum
Saturday, December 6, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
"Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways." ― Dalai Lama XIV
PHILADELPHIA 2014—It's time to get into the holiday spirit! Bring family and friends to the Penn Museum Saturday, December 6, 11:00 – 4:00 pm for the free 19th annual Peace around the World holiday celebration. Guests receive Museum "passports" with itineraries to visit eight "countries" and their cultures—China, Haiti, India, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, and Russia—via eight international presenters, and explore festive holiday traditions from around the world. The afternoon also features holiday and children's music, storytelling, dance performances, henna hand art, balloon art, face painting, and a family craft activity that invites guests to offer their personal wishes for peace. Special museum gallery tours, holiday Museum Shop discounts for all, and free cupcakes for children make this a special day!
"This joyful and distinctively international celebration is Penn Museum's holiday 'gift' to our community," said Dr. Julian Siggers, Penn Museum Director. "We open our doors in the spirit of cultural understanding and in the hope we all have for a world at peace."
Ensemble Reanimates Silent Films with Live Accompaniment
Relâche, Philadelphia’s internationally renowned new music ensemble, returns for an encore year as ensemble-in-residence at the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The new three-concert series, “Music for the Mystery of Silents,” features live accompaniment to silent films presented in the Museum’s recently renovated Widener Hall. The series kicks off Sunday, November 16 at 3:00 pm, with Maya Deren: New Music and her Surreal Silent Films, with live music by Teiji Ito, Kyle Gann, Leslie Burrs, and Chuck Holdeman. The series continues with performances in January and May 2015.
Unpacking the Past: Penn Museum Launches Innovative New Middle School Program
Designed to Spark STEM Learning through Museum Engagement
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Private Grant-Funded Program Aims to Reach School District of Philadelphia,
KIPP, and Mastery Charter School 7th Graders and Their Families
FALL 2014—Curators and staff at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology know that ancient Egyptian culture and the practice of mummification fascinate visitors. Coming face-to-face with real materials from ancient Egypt and other cultures is an experience few forget.
Beginning this fall, 7th graders in School District of Philadelphia schools, the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), and Mastery Charter Schools, their teachers—and even the students' families—have an opportunity to delve deeper into the rich material culture and traditions of ancient Egypt and the ancient Roman Empire. Students can discover more about the ancient past, all while tapping into "Common Core" curriculum standards in language arts, math, and science, through an innovative new, multi-stage program, Unpacking the Past, at the Penn Museum.
Event Extra: Treasures Sale and Show of Jewelry and Accessories Open
in Kintner-Dietrich Galleries
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2014—Throughout Mexico and around the world, Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) brings family and friends together to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. Far from a morose affair, Day of the Dead is a celebration, rich in traditions and connections—it is at heart a celebration of life.
On Saturday, November 1, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, the Penn Museum presents the third annual Day of the Dead Celebration, with pageantry, traditional music and dance, storytelling and puppetry, paper maché artistry, sugar skull and mask making, face painting, special foods and more. Guests can view colorful altars (ofrendas) designed by regional community groups, and a large Day of the Dead altar created by the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, co-organizers of the event, with the help of local artist Cesar Viveros.
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2014—The Penn Museum once again opens its doors to the world, as international students, scholars, and professionals new to the Delaware Valley are invited to attend the 45th annual International Students & Scholars Reception on Friday, October 17, 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The Welcome Reception, held throughout the galleries of the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia, is free and open to all international students and scholars in the region.
The annual Welcome Reception, long considered a national model among international educators, hosts hundreds of international guests from more than 100 countries every year. The Penn Museum's International Classroom program leads the celebration to connect international guests with the local community and its resources, and to introduce attendees to the multicultural community of Philadelphia.
Public Invited to Tour New Facilities as Part of Museum's International Archaeology Day Celebration Saturday, October 18
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2014—This fall, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, in conjunction with Penn Arts and Sciences, launches the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), housed in a newly renovated suite of conservation and teaching laboratories in the Museum's West Wing. The new Center will offer the facilities, materials, equipment, and expert personnel to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students in a range of scientific techniques crucial to archaeologists and other scholars as they seek to interpret the past. Study will be arranged around eight disciplines: ceramics, digital archaeology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, human skeletal analysis, lithics, archaeometallurgy, and conservation.
NOTE: The Penn Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center is involved in this international effort.
In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now "exhibit significant damage" and some structures have been "reduced to rubble," according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The AAAS analysis, offering the first comprehensive look at the extent of damage to Syria's priceless cultural heritage sites, was completed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC) and the Smithsonian Institution, and in cooperation with the Syrian Heritage Task Force. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the analysis provides authoritative confirmation of previous on-the-ground reports of damage to individual sites.
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2014—Visitors are invited to indulge their inner Indiana Jones on Saturday, October 18, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, as the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates International Archaeology Day.
Multigenerational International Peace Day Program Features Performances
By T.C. Carson, Black Ice, Lady Alma, Danny Simmons, Jr., Vinie Burrows, More
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 2014—This International Peace Day, the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, in collaboration with City poet laureate emeritus and peace advocate Sonia Sanchez, invites the community to join in a spectacular and life-affirming celebration, FOOTPRINTS OF PEACE.
PHILADELPHIA , PA 2014—Children and families are invited to delve a little deeper, discovering more about the ancient Etruscans and Egyptians, the Maya, and more at monthly Family Second Sunday Workshops, 1:00 to 4:00 pm beginning this October at the Penn Museum. Geared to families with children ages 5 and up, each monthly drop-in Workshop, offered October through May 2015, features a craft, touchable artifacts, and gallery activities.
Attendees to a Family Second Sunday Workshop automatically become members of Penn Museum's Art Excavators Club. Club members who attend three Family Second Sunday workshops receive a free surprise!
The Penn Museum Invites Visitors to Share in Recent "Re-Discovery"
Rare 6,500-Year-Old Skeleton from Ur Excavation Site in Iraq
Moves to "In the Artifact Lab" Conservation Project Space Saturday, August 30
PHILADELPHIA, PA AUGUST 2014—Following an early August announcement of a "rediscovered" find in a Physical Anthropology storage room—a rare, fragile, but largely intact 6,500-year-old human skeleton from the famous Ur excavations in what is now Iraq—the Penn Museum will be moving the skeleton to a public space beginning Saturday, August 30.
September through December 2014 at the Penn Museum
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2014—French historian Fernand Braudel (1902-1985) once noted, "The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization." This fall, the Penn Museum, home to art and artifacts from civilizations around the world, invites visitors to explore the international galleries with an eye to food, drink, culture, and cuisine as experienced by humans throughout the ages.