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Museum Archives

Materials on a desk in the archives.

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Contact Archives inquiries and appointments:

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Our collections include 2,500 feet of records documenting the Museum's global archaeological expeditions, the history of the Museum, and the history of the practices of archaeology and anthropology. We hold three-quarters of a million images and nearly one thousand reels of film.

The Penn Museum Archives is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:30 am to 5 pm, by appointment only.

Learn more about the use of video and images

Information for Donors

The archives of the Penn Museum collects, describes and preserves evidence of the histories of archaeological and anthropological practice at Penn.

These records include:

  • museum administrative records
  • records from Penn-sponsored expeditions
  • personal and professional papers of prominent people associated with the museum, including museum officers, faculty, staff, students, and benefactors
  • other materials which document the activities, history, and collections of the museum
  • other materials relating to the history of anthropology and archaeology, as well as records from expeditions not carried out by the museum when no other appropriate institution is available and there is a danger these records will be lost

Donations of materials within the scope of our collections policy are welcome. Please contact us to discuss the possible transfer of records to our repository. We welcome the opportunity to provide your records a safe, controlled and accessible venue for researcher use.

In accordance with professional standards and the code of ethics outlined by the Society of American Archivists, please be aware that our aim is to promote, rather than to restrict records. In special cases, we can restrict sensitive information for the lifetime of the donor or subject. We generally discourage the donation of materials that may be protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Please note also that the transfer of records to the museum archives is usually accompanied by the transfer of copyright.