PHILADELPHIA 2013—Recognized for its global jewelry selection, the Museum Shop at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia is offering unique gifts evoking ancient royal style.
Among the collection are Sofala bangle bracelets from South Africa, fair trade items which support women's employment. Inspired by the 16th-century trade prowess of the Mutapa Kingdoms of modern-day Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the bracelets' symbols and patterns celebrate the ancient tradition of adornment and a rich culture of craftsmanship. The bangles are 100% handmade from recycled materials ($12.99 each, or three for $30).
Besides the Sofala bangles, there are Lapis Leaf earrings inspired by the jewelry of Queen Puabi in Iraq's Ancient Past: Rediscovering Ur's Royal Cemetery. Each earring is a delicate brass leaf anchored to a vibrant lapis bead ($59.99).
Hundreds of unique gifts from around the modern and ancient worlds are available at the Museum Shop. The Pyramid Shop for children offers a variety of fun and educational toys, games, stuffed animals, and books.
From Wednesday, December 4 through Sunday, December 8, both the Museum Shop and the Pyramid Shop offer 20% off all purchases for Penn Museum members (with membership card). Guests who are not Penn Museum members may choose from the array of individual, family, and student membership packages starting at just $40 to take advantage of this deal in time for the holiday shopping season.
Highlight of the Museum Shop
According to Shop Manager Kevin Freitag, a Himalayan Salt lamp from the mountainous region of Pakistan is a bestseller. It is a popular gift idea for both home décor and for children to use as a night light. The high mineral crystals range in color from sheer white, varying shades of pink, to deep reds. Himalayan salt originally formed from marine fossil deposits more than 250 million years ago, and is still extracted from mines by hand, according to tradition, without the use of any machinery ($30, or $15 with purchase of any other item).
For Teachers, Lawyers, and Event Planners
In addition to accessories, shoppers can also purchase ancient artifact replicas such as Babylonian School Tablets ($9.99) used in ancient Nippur. A popular gift for teachers, the tablet shows how the teacher inscribed the signs in the first two rows, which students then copied in lines three and four. Many guests browsing for law school gift ideas select the Mesopotamian Legal Tablet ($19.99). It features cuneiform writing of the Laws of Lipit-Ishtar, which pre-date the Code of Hammurabi by 150 years. There is also the Mesopotamian Beer Tablet keychain ($6.99) to amuse event planners. The tablet is a receipt from 1200 BCE written in the Akkadian language for one of the earliest recorded beer runs.
The Pyramid Shop for Children
The Penn Museum children's gift shop, the Pyramid Shop, provides exciting and educational toys and games for explorers ages 5 and up. An array of board games from Egypt (Mancala and Senet) as well as Rome (Nine Men's Morris) and Go, a game of Oriental strategy, offers children the chance to play as the ancients did ($12.99–$44.99). A Byzantine mosaic kit offers a unique twist for 8- to 11-year-old puzzle aficionados. The finished result is an image of the woman Ktisis, a personification of the act of generosity. Floor mosaics inscribed with her name have survived at sites throughout the former Byzantine Empire ($12.95).
Shoppers can find additional toys, games, stuffed animals, jewelry, and a treasure trove of children's books about ancient civilizations and modern world cultures at the Pyramid Shop. The items appeal to a wide range of ages and are offered at a range of prices.
Visitors coming exclusively to the shops can come in for free. The Museum Shop is open during regular Museum hours: Tuesday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Wednesday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (until 8:00 pm on Wednesdays if the Museum is open); and Thursday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (closed Mondays and major holidays). The Pyramid Shop is open Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, November 11 until December 25. For more information, call 215.898.4040. A selection of items are available at the Museum's website (www.penn.museum and click on "START SHOPPING").
The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.
The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Wednesday, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered select Wednesdays. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.
Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. The Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.
Image captions (top to bottom): Sofala bangles from South Africa are among the fair trade items available for purchase in the Museum Shop at the Penn Museum throughout the month of December ($12.99 each, or three for $30). Photo: Penn Museum. Inside the Museum Shop at the Penn Museum, white light bulbs showcase the natural hues of two Himalayan Salt lamps from Pakistan, as red, blue, and green light bulbs give the Himalayan Salt lamps a different look ($30, or $15 with any purchase). Photo: Penn Museum. Ancient artifact replicas of a (L-R) Mesopotamian Legal Tablet, Babylonian School Tablet, and Mesopotamian Beer Tablet keychain available in the Museum Shop at the Penn Museum remain popular gift ideas for lawyers, teachers, and event planners ($6.99-$19.99). Photo: Penn Museum. The Pyramid Shop for Children at the Penn Museum offers an array of board games from Egypt (Mancala and Senet) as well as Rome (Nine Men's Morris) to give children the chance to play as the ancients did ($12.95-$44.99). Photo: Penn Museum.