Penn Museum Explores Daily Life During Politically Tumultuous Times
A world-renowned collection of ancient Maya painted pottery, excavated by the University of Pennsylvania Museum nearly a century ago and reinterpreted in light of recent research in the field, provides the centerpiece for Painted Metaphors: Pottery and Politics of the Ancient Maya, a new exhibition opening at the Penn Museum 05 April 2009. Painted Metaphors runs through 31 January 2010, before beginning a multi-city national tour.
Like so many pieces of the famous Chama pottery that conservators meticulously put back together at the Penn Museum, Painted Metaphors yields new clues to understanding everyday life—and changing politics—of the ancient Maya of Guatemala 1,300 years ago.
Darwin Day Celebration is a Highlight Event for Philadelphia’s YEAR OF EVOLUTION
14 JANUARY 2009, PHILADELPHIA, PA— Charles Robert Darwin, the world-renowned author of On the Origin of Species—and the originator of the modern theory of evolution—has his 200th birthday in February, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates it in style, with the third annual free Darwin Day and Evolution Teach In Sunday, 15 February 2009 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The free afternoon program features short “teach in” talks in galleries by renowned experts, curator-led tours of Penn Museum’s National Science Foundation-funded evolution exhibition Surviving, The Body of Evidence, and a physical anthropologist’s “touchables” corner with casts of hominid skulls and other bones. An “Origins” scavenger hunt, a family program on dinosaurs, a game of Evolutionary Twister, an orchid display, and the opportunity to play some badminton, reputedly a favorite pastime of the evolutionary thinker, are also part of the afternoon. Darwin himself (or a reasonable likeness) promises to make an appearance to enjoy the festivities—and partake of the free birthday cake!
21 DECEMBER 2009, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Enter the New Year with the strength and determination of an Ox! The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology announces the 28th annual Chinese New Year Celebration, the Year of the Ox, Saturday, 24 January 2009, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.! Music and dance performances, healing and martial arts demonstrations, games, workshops, children's activities and much more - topped off with the traditional Chinese Lion Dance grand finale - are all part of the spectacular day-long celebration, free with Museum admission donation ($10 general admission; $7 seniors and $6 students with ID; free for children under 6, Museum members and PENNcard holders).
14 DECEMBER 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—“I like the variety,” said Erika Durham CT Technologist, Department of Radiology, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “These are very different populations from what I work with during the week. And just the whole thing—helping science—that is cool.”
For about one year, Ms. Durham has been one of HUP’s CT technologists assisting scientists at the University of Pennsylvania Museum with a major, National Science Foundation funded project to cat scan the Museum’s skeletal collections of thousands of human and primate specimens, as well as collections from Columbia University, the American Museum of Natural History—and, on this early Sunday morning—a collection of skulls from the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
08 DECEMBER 2009, PHILADELPHAI, PA—Effective beginning January 2009, the new admission donation requested for entrance at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology will be as follows: $10 general admission; $7 senior citizens (65 and above); $6 for children 6 to 17 and full-time students with college ID; free for children 5 and younger, Penn Museum members and Penncard holders.
21 NOVEMBER 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Co-curator of Penn Museum's Fulfilling a Prophecy and a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Seldin has been awarded a 2009 Rhodes Scholarship.
Ms. Seldin is a senior in the Department of Anthropology of Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences.
PENN MUSEUM'S FREE HOLIDAY FAMILY CELEBRATION, SUNDAY, 07 DECEMBER 2008 FROM 1:00 TO 4:00 P.M.
10 NOVEMBER 2009, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Grab your “Holiday Passport” and get into the spirit of the holiday season Sunday, December 7th, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., when the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates its 13th annual FREE Peace Around the World family-oriented afternoon. Continuing with last year’s tradition, this year’s theme is “Holiday Passport to Cultures,” and all visitors receive Museum “passports” with itineraries to visit Penn Museum International Classroom speakers and learn about holiday traditions in countries around the world. The day also features international music, choir music by children and adults, exotic face painting, balloon art, international family crafts, free treats for children, and more!
This year's event is in honor of Elaine Garfinkel, who founded Peace Around the World at Penn Museum in 1995. Elaine was an active member of the Penn Museum women's community for fifteen years. Her kindess and compassion live on through this special event.
Public forum, “Climate Crises in Human History,” will conclude two-day conference at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
16 OCTOBER 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—For the first time in human history the Earth’s climate is changing—and we know about it in advance. The ancient Egyptians, the Maya, the Roman Empire and medieval Europeans—all of whom faced dramatic climate change—did not. Some adapted to changing conditions; some did not. What can we learn from their strategies—both the successful and the unsuccessful, as we face our own climate crisis?
07 OCTOBER 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—”Iyare!”—”May you go and return safely!”—is the phrase onlookers shout when Edo nobles head for the Benin Kingdom’s palace in the West African country of Nigeria.
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology invites visitors to a new exhibition that focuses on the rich art and cultural heritage, as well as the ongoing traditions, of the Edo people of Nigeria’s Benin Kingdom. IYARE! Splendor and Tension in Benin’s Palace Theatre opens with a public celebration Saturday, 08 November 2008.
Nearly 100 objects from the Penn Museum's world-renowned collection of cast bronzes, carved ivories and wooden artifacts (16th to the 21st centuries A.D.) from the Kingdom of Benin, form the core of this new exhibition. Photographs from contemporary palace life, text, video, regional Nigerian art, and international art inspired by Benin culture, help to tell the story. The exhibition includes many Penn Museum pieces that have not been on display for decades, as well as loans of significant works from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. IYARE! is an outgrowth of a University of Pennsylvania Halpern-Rogath History of Art curatorial seminar, and a curatorial collaboration between its students and African art historian and professor Dr. Kathy Curnow.
07 OCTOBER 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—How do you say “welcome to Philadelphia”—in every language of the world? Every year, as many as 1,000 guests from 100 or more countries network and make friends at the annual International Students Reception at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
International students, scholars and professionals new to the Delaware Valley are invited to attend, in their ethnic best, if they wish, this year’s annual welcoming reception Friday, 17 October from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The event is held in the majestic Chinese Rotunda at the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street on the University of Pennsylvania campus.
18 AUGUST 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The Penn Cultural Heritage Center, dedicated to expanding both scholarly and public awareness, discussion, and debate about the complex issues surrounding the world’s rich—and endangered—cultural heritage, has been established at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia.
Dr. Richard M. Leventhal, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Curator, American Section at Penn Museum, and former Williams Director of Penn Museum, is founder and director of the new Penn Cultural Heritage Center. PCHC draws upon the expertise of the Museum’s curators, researchers, graduate students, other Penn department faculty, and outside scholars, for its programs. More than a year in the planning, the new Center has already piloted some spring 2008 programs for law enforcement professionals. It launches its public programming initiatives beginning in the fall of 2008.
A New Exhibition Opening 13 September 2008 at the Penn Museum Tells the Long-Unspoken Story of the Region’s Local Native Americans
01 AUGUST 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Conventional histories of Pennsylvania declare that all but a few elderly Lenape people left the state by the opening of the 19th century. Many Lenape were indeed driven westward, and ultimately established communities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and in other parts of the United States and Canada. Yet, many remained here in secret. Children of the little known Lenape-European marriages of the 1700s stayed on the Lenape homelands (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and southern New York) and continued to practice their traditions covertly. Hiding their Lenape heritage, they avoided discovery by both the government and their neighbors for more than two hundred years. Now, the descendants of these people have come forward to tell their story.
01 AUGUST 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has received a four-year, $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to organize and run a cross-borders, international collaborative research program in Laos and Thailand. “Strengthening the Future of Southeast Asian Archaeology: Investigating the Prehistoric Settlement of the Mekong Middle Basin,” will be directed by Dr. Joyce White, Senior Research Scientist in the Asian Section at Penn Museum, co-Director of the Middle Mekong Archaeology Project since 2001, and Director of the Museum’s Ban Chiang, Thailand Project since 1982.
27 JUNE 2008, Philadelphia, PA—Dr. Richard Hodges, Williams Director, Penn Museum, is pleased to announce a gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor to endow the Mediterranean Section Keepership in memory of Dr. Keith DeVries, longtime associate curator of the Museum’s Mediterranean section and associate professor of Classical Studies at Penn.
Like most major geographical “sections” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Mediterranean Section has a “Keeper”—a full time staff person responsible for the care of and access to the 34,000 artifacts in Penn Museum’s ancient Mediterranean section collections. Lynn C. Makowsky, the section’s Keeper since 2000, is the Museum’s first Keith Devries Keeper. Ms. Makowsky holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. For the past six seasons, she has been part of the staff at the joint Penn Museum/Southern Methodist University/Franklin and Marshall College Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and Poggio Colla Field School in Italy.
20 MAY 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—After 37 years as Head of Conservation at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Virginia Greene retires, officially if not entirely, June 30, 2008—and it is safe to say that she will not be forgotten by her colleagues or by the many students and interns she helped to train at the Museum.
With about one million archaeological and anthropological artifacts collected from all over the world, Penn Museum has been a never-ending source of conservation opportunities and challenges. Unlike many conservators who specialize in archaeology or ethnography or certain kinds of materials, Ms. Greene has maintained a Renaissance woman’s wide-ranging interest and capabilities. Among the thousands of artifacts she has examined and conserved over her tenure at the Museum are such diverse objects as the world-famous bull-headed lyre and Lady Pu-Abi’s dazzling gold and lapis lazuli headdress, both from the famous ancient Sumerian site of Ur; intricately woven masterpiece baskets from the Pomo Indians of California; poison darts and textiles from the Dayaks of Borneo; and South American feather headdresses.
16 MAY 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Children and their families are treated to a wide range of international performances, from Spiral Q Puppets, to an Africa storyteller, to a Native American dance duo this summer, when the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology presents its Summer Wonder 2008 Performance Series. Eight Summer Wonder programs, all free with Museum admission donation, run Wednesday mornings, June 25th through August 13th at 10:30 a.m. Performances last about one hour. Pre-registration is required for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to register, call (215) 746-6774.
Designed for children ages 6 to 12 and their families, Summer Wonder programs introduce diverse cultures and cultural perspectives through the performing arts. The 2008 series features:
June 25 - Spiral Q Puppeteers perform with a large array of giant puppets. Their presentation introduces visitors to the provocative use of puppets to affect social change and achieve community goals.
World Renowned Paleoanthropologist Speaks About "The Importance of Lucy" at Public Lecture and Booksigning
05 MAY 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—On Sunday, 04 May 2008, more than 350 people were on hand to hear world renowned paleanthropolologist Dr. Donald Johanson speak--and receive Penn Museum's Wilton Krogman Award.
In recognition of his groundbreaking discoveries and continued impact on the field of paleoanthropology, Dr. Richard Hodges, Williams Director of Penn Museum, presented Dr. Johanson with the Wilton Krogman Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biological Anthropology.
07 APRIL 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The Olympic torch, long the symbol of world unity, hasn’t had a smooth run thus far this year, as it makes its way to the 2008 summer games in Beijing, China. The flame was extinguished three times in Paris on Monday, April 7, as Pro-Tibetan protesters made their presence known. The disturbances put a halt to the torch relay in France, as security officials placed the flame on a bus to transport it to its end point in the country.
Public Lecture, and Presentation of the Wilton Krogman Award, is Featured Part of Penn and Citywide Year of Evolution Programming
26 MARCH 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson has, over the course of an illustrious career, produced some of the field’s groundbreaking discoveries into humanity’s ancient, evolutionary past. Chief among his discoveries is the most widely known and thoroughly studied fossil find of the 20th century—the 3.2 million year old “Lucy” skeleton.
On Sunday, May 4th at 2 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Dr. Johanson offers a public lecture, “The Importance of Lucy.” Tickets to the talk are $15; $10 for Penn Museum members. Tickets can be purchased for both lecture and reception (cash bar) and book signing: $30; $25 Penn Museum members. All tickets include admission to Penn Museum, and the Museum’s newest exhibition, “Surviving: The Body of Evidence,” about the process of evolution.
20 MARCH 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—Homer, living centuries before the Classical era of Athens, is renowned for his epic tales of an even earlier time, when the Mycenaeans of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1600–1100 B.C.)—with a rich warrior aristocracy and wide-ranging trade—came to rule the land and the seas.
Archaeologists have uncovered great Mycenaean cities, like Mycenae and Pylos, extraordinary circular burial chambers, elegant frescoes, even written language, as well as widespread evidence of Mycenaean expansion and trade—but no harbors or port towns to help them understand the far-flung connections, or the rapid expansion and equally sudden demise, of this ancient Greek culture—until now.