Open today 10 am – 5 pm

April and May 2018 Calendar of Events at the Penn Museum

March 05, 2018

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director


Penn Museum events are posted online at Check the website for more information and updates!.

Front of the Museum

Wednesdays, April 18, 25, May 9, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Bearing Witness Discussion Group
Join Dr. Deborah Thomas, co-curator, Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston, on a journey of discovery, exploring the history and culture of Jamaica, in this six-part open reading group that began in March. Come to one program or all. Read and discuss a rich variety of histories, novels, poetry—as well as film. The full syllabus is available online. Free.

April 18: The True History of Paradise: A Novel, Margaret Cezair-Thompson (1999)
April 25: History and Poetry, A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James (2014); This Strange Land, Shara McCallum (2011)
May 9: Novel, Augustown, Kei Miller (2016)

Tuesday, April 3, 10:30 am
Museum Playdate
Greek Mythology
Explore ancient Greece at this program for young guests aged 3 to 5 and their chaperones. Young learners are invited to story time and dramatic play in the Greek gallery; art-making in a classroom; and a small snack during this hour-long program. Admission: $10 (one child and one adult); $5 for Members (one child and one adult). Additional children $2 each.

Thursday, April 5, 6:00 pm
Evening Event
Intercultural Journeys: Omar Offendum and Syrian Hip Hop
Damascus meets the Harlem Renaissance through the stylings of internationally renowned, Syrian American poet, hip-hop artist, and peace activist Omar Offendum. Join us for a performance inspired in part from the exhibition Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq, a tour of that special exhibition, and a conversation highlighting diverse connections between artistic and historic worlds. Presented in partnership with Intercultural Journeys. Admission: $5 in advance; $10 at the door. Registration at

Saturday, April 14, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Second Saturday
Cities Around the Globe
What makes a city? Guests of all ages can explore the wide variety of cities around the world through a special tour and scavenger hunt that encourages taking a closer look at objects in the galleries. A building station invites guests to design their own city or make a special craft to take home. Free with Museum admission.

Saturday, April 14, 3:30 pm
Afternoon Lecture
A Nubian Walks into a Christian Bar in Philae and Says …
Dr. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, Northern Arizona University and Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University East, speaks at this program sponsored by the American Research Center in Egypt – Pennsylvania Chapter. Admission: $10 for the general public; $7 for Penn Museum members, Penn faculty and staff; $5 for students with ID; and FREE for ARCE-PA members and children under 12.

Saturday, April 14, 6:30 to 11:00 pm
Black Tie Gala Preview Spectacular!
An Evening in the Fertile Crescent: Celebrating the Opening of the Middle East Galleries
Enjoy cocktails and late-night dancing in a vast tent draped in gold and greenery, dine under one of the largest domed ceilings in the world, and tour brand new galleries—showcasing magnificent objects thousands of years old—with the extraordinary team of curators and international designers who created them. For one night only, experience the celebrated architecture, gardens, and fountains of the Penn Museum, dressed up as a lush, gold-tipped oasis reminiscent of the famed hanging gardens of Babylon. Join us for an evening in the fertile crescent at the Museum’s biennial Golden Gala, celebrating the opening of the new, world-class Middle East Galleries. For tickets or more information, visit or contact Kristen Lauerman at (215)573-5251 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, April 18, 6:00 pm
PM @ Penn Museum
Strangest Things: A Night of Cryptozoology
Cultures across the world share stories of mythical creatures and half human hybrids. Explore some of these stories in the Museum galleries through tours and scavenger hunts. Watch out for strange creatures lurking in the halls. Listen to strange stories and more while enjoying cocktails made especially for the night. Adults only. Admission: $20; $15 Penn Museum Members (includes one drink, must be 21 or older).

Friday April 20, 5:00 pm evening Keynote Lecture
Saturday, April 20, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Program
Center for Ancient Studies Annual Symposium
Cities in the Ancient World
Scholars from North America and Europe come together for an interdisciplinary look at the formation and nature of urban settlement around the globe, at this annual Center for Ancient Studies symposium organized on the occasion of the opening of the Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries. Friday evening, famed French Assyriologist Dominique Charpin delivers the keynote address “The Place of Temples in Mesopotamian Cities: The Case of Ur in the Old Babylonian Period.” Saturday speakers present case studies from Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, Iran, South Asia, China, North America, Mesoamerica, and Central Asia in the ancient and medieval past. The keynote address is at the University of Pennsylvania Cohen Hall, room 402; the Saturday conference is at the Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum. Details online at the Center for Ancient Studies website, Free.

Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and April 22, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Opening Weekend Festival
Middle East Galleries
Enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the region, past and present, during this two-day festival to mark the opening of the Middle East Galleries! Saturday begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 am. There’s a puppet show with scenes from the Epic of Gilgamesh and a children’s story time with Middle Eastern tales; ancient cuneiform tablet, cylinder seal, and Arabic calligraphy workshops; and film, lectures, and Exchange-with-an-Expert sessions. A Middle East Bazaar features tea, food and craft vendors, and a spice cart beckoning guests to smell, touch, and learn about the region’s spices. Zoo on Wheels brings in animals from the Middle East, while outside, a local Middle Eastern Unity Cup team demonstrates football (soccer), a favorite sport of the region. Farah Siraj, internationally renowned Jordanian virtuoso vocalist, performs on Saturday and Al-Bustan Ensemble offers up “An Afternoon of Classical & Contemporary Arab Music” on Sunday afternoon.

Creative engineering activities invite guests to build structures from unorthodox materials (marshmallows or spaghetti, anyone?), or to build cities at a Lego building station, connecting with the galleries’ millennia-long journey to the city. The landscape of the Middle East—and some of Penn Museum’s excavation sites— can be explored via Google Cardboard. A cities-focused Instagram Scavenger Hunt, a matching game exploring the region’s biodiversity, and a Middle East art activities station, round out the activities. Free with Museum admission.

Monday, April 23, 3:00 pm
Afternoon Lecture
Tourism and Community: An Ecuadorian Village Builds on its Past
The Penn Cultural Heritage Center presents this free public lecture by Chris Hudson, University College London. An archaeological project and village museum established in 1990 have helped catalyze a remarkable process of cultural awareness and community development in the village of Agua Blanca on the Ecuadorian coast over the past twenty-five years. These initiatives have been set up by the village itself in collaboration with local, national, and overseas agencies. Moreover, the community organizes its tourism business in a way which aims to spread the benefits of tourism to as many households as possible. Agua Blanca's experience shows that much can be achieved through growing confidence in cultural identity, and that there are alternative ways of managing and assuring local benefits from tourism. Nevil Classroom. Free.

Wednesday, April 25, 5:00 to 6:30 pm
(Optional gallery tours at 3:00 and 4:00 pm, see below)
Wolf Humanities Forum
Death, Burial, and the Afterlife in Early Mesopotamia
The intact burial ground of Queen Puabi, which dates back more than 4,000 years, and a lavish mass burial which was described by its excavator as the "Great Death Pit," provide a uniquely illuminating view into the beliefs of ancient Sumerians. In the closing lecture of the Wolf Humanities Center’s 2017-18 Forum on Afterlives, Dr. Holly Pittman, Curator, Near East Section; Penn’s Bok Family Professor in the Humanities; and a curator of the new Middle East Galleries, describes the Queen’s tomb, how it reflects the elaborate and expensive rituals associated with the passing of members of elite society from this world to the next, and what this tells us about notions of life after death in early Mesopotamia.

Before the lecture, guests are invited to tour Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries. 3:00–4:00pm: Curator-led Tours (pre-registration required); 4:00–5:00: Open Gallery. Registration required: Free.

Wednesday, May 9, 6:00 pm
PM @ Penn Museum
Mummies and Martinis
Enjoy happy hour with friends—and a martini special, if you like—in the Egypt (Mummies) Gallery. Admission: $9 per person includes one free drink for guests 21 and over.

Friday, May 11, 5:30 pm
Evening Lecture
Ancient Tuberculosis and Leprosy: Pre-Colombian Presence in the New World
Jane Buikstra, Regents’ Professor of Bioarchaeology and Founding Director, Center for Bioarchaeological Research in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, is renowned for her groundbreaking international research in bioarchaeology, paleopathology, forensic anthropology, and paleodemography. In this talk, Dr. Buikstra focuses on tuberculosis and leprosy, closely related mycobacterial diseases that continue to challenge medical science today. Both are commonly considered Old World diseases, based upon evidence from texts, portable art, murals, and human remains. Focusing upon archaeological and biomolecular approaches, she considers new evidence for the antiquity of these mycobacterial diseases in the Americas. Pre-registration recommended. Free.

Wednesday, May 16, 6:00 pm
PM @ Penn Museum
Where in the Penn Museum is Carmen Sandiego?
Calling all gumshoes! Carmen Sandiego has taken over the Penn Museum along with her henchmen. We need you and your team to help track her down and save the Penn Museum at this special edition program, where guests have fun—and engage in a little competitive rivalry—exploring the galleries and discovering new facts about geography and culture! Adults only. Admission: $20; $15 Penn Museum Members (admission includes one drink).

Friday, May 18 and June 8
5:30 pm Friday to 9:00 am Saturday
Sleepover Program
40 Winks with the Sphinx
Penn Museum's sleepover, 40 Winks with the Sphinx, invites guests ages 6 to 12 and their chaperones to an overnight "expedition" of the Museum. The night's activities are geared to take intrepid explorers on a journey through time and across continents, with hands-on opportunities, through games, crafts, and even a flashlight tour of the galleries, to explore ancient Egypt, the mummies, hieroglyphics, the ancient Greeks and Romans, the world of the ancient Maya, and more. Admission: $55 per person. Advance registration required:

Saturday, May 19, 3:30 pm
Afternoon Lecture
Private Coffins from the Amarna Period
Dr. Anders Bettum, Senior Curator at the Oslo Museum and Director of the Amarna Coffin Project, speaks at this program sponsored by the American Research Center in Egypt – Pennsylvania Chapter. Admission: $10 for the general public; $7 for Penn Museum members, Penn faculty and staff; $5 for students with ID; and FREE for ARCE-PA members and children under 12.

Regularly Scheduled Programs

Tuesdays through Fridays, 11:00 - 11:30 am and 1:30 - 2:00 pm
Weekends, 12:00 - 12:30 and 3:00 - 3:30 pm
The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action

Go behind the scenes! Lab conservators answer questions about their conservation projects—anything from studying, documenting, cleaning, or mending an elegant Middle Eastern pot to restoring an ancient Egyptian coffin lid or other artifacts from the Museum's collections. Free with Museum admission.

Fridays, 1:30 pm
Unearthed in the Archives

Visitors can take a trip through Museum (and world) history in the Penn Museum Archives. Informal weekly chats investigate the many interesting and unusual documents safeguarded in this vast collection. Guests can expect a new experience each week, based on expedition records, vintage photographs, manuscripts, personal letters, and much more. Free with Museum admission. .

Saturdays and Sundays, 1:30 pm
Gallery Tours

Join docents for hour-long guided tours of the signature galleries or special exhibitions. Tours depart from Pepper Hall. Topics vary. Free with Museum admission. Check the Museum’s web calendar for current schedule.

New! Beginning in May 2018
Saturdays and Sundays, 2:30 pm
Global Guides Gallery Tours

Global guides from Iraq and Syria provide personal, contemporary perspectives on the region’s cultural history as they share historical information about the artifacts on display in the new Middle East Galleries. Free with Museum admission.

New Signature Galleries

Opening Saturday, April 21
Middle East Galleries
The 4,500-year-old crowning jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen. One of the world’s oldest wine vessels. A baby’s rattle. A school child’s first writing primer. A workman’s tool. Through these extraordinary objects and over 1,200 more, the new suite of Middle East Galleries, the first in a series of galleries that are part of the Museum’s ambitious Building Transformation Plan, will take you on a journey, exploring how ancient Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world’s first cities—cities not so very different, in many ways, from our own.

Tapping into the Museum’s pioneering work in Mesopotamia, breadth of curatorial expertise, and renowned collection, the suite of three galleries—“Towards Cities,” “Ur: The Great City,” and “The World of Cities”—invites you on a 10,000 year human expedition, from early writing and record keeping to religion and burial practices, transportation, agriculture, cooking, and the arts.

The Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries are made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor; the William B. Dietrich Foundation; and the Coby Foundation.

Special Exhibitions

All free with Museum admission.

Opening Thursday, April 26
And So the Story Goes…Innovations in Storytelling
Telling stories is a fundamental aspect of all human societies, but how have different cultures taken on communicating narratives? And what happens when the ways stories are told change? This special exhibition, developed by Penn student curators Branden Cordivari, Fiona Jensen-Hitch, and Linda Lin for Penn’s Year of Innovation, explores how storytelling has changed with cultural innovations. Fifteen objects—including a Javanese Shadow puppet, a Native American story knife from Alaska, and a Neoclassical period cameo—drawn from the Penn Museum’s international collections, help to tell the tale. First Floor Elevator Lobby.

Through July 15, 2018
Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston
In May 2010, the “Tivoli Incursion,” a standoff between Jamaican security forces and a local gang leader wanted for extradition by the United States government, resulted in the death of at least 75 civilians in West Kingston on the island of Jamaica. This new exhibition—part art installation, part memorial, and part call to action—sheds light on those events through compelling video and audio footage featuring firsthand accounts of people directly impacted by the violence. The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Deborah Thomas, the R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn of AV Productions and Deanne M. Bell, Senior Lecturer Psychology, University of East London. First floor Merle-Smith Gallery West.

Through July 2018
Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America
You might be familiar with the some of the more famous prehistoric monuments around the globe—the Great Pyramids in Egypt; Stonehenge in England; Macchu Picchu in Peru. But did you know we have our own impressive monuments right here in the United States? Some even older than the pyramids, these spectacular earthworks give us glimpses into more than 5,000 years of Native North American prehistory. Moundbuilders explores the fascinating history of Native American moundbuilding through a variety of photographs, artifacts, archival materials, and excavation records. First floor Merle-Smith Gallery East.

Through November 26, 2018
Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq
Created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, this powerful exhibition—a complement to the new Middle East Galleries—sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what’s at stake—the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people—and what’s being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum’s extensive Near East collection tell stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time. Contemporary artwork from Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist based in Cambridge, UK, provides an art intervention—a modern-day response to the artifacts and themes. The exhibition features the work being done by the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with individuals and groups in the Middle East to help combat the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage. Third floor.

About the Penn Museum

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 through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. 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 offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.


About the Penn Museum
The Penn Museum’s mission is to be a center for inquiry and the ongoing exploration of humanity for our University of Pennsylvania, regional, national, and global communities, following ethical standards and practices.

Through conducting research, stewarding collections, creating learning opportunities, sharing stories, and creating experiences that expand access to archaeology and anthropology, the Museum builds empathy and connections across diverse cultures

The Penn Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm. It is open until 8:00 pm on first Wednesdays of the month. The Café is open Tuesday-Thursday, 9:00 am-3:00 pm and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am-3:00 pm. On Sundays, the Café is open 10:30 am-2:30 pm. For information, visit, call 215.898.4000, or follow @PennMuseum on social media.