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October 2017: Events and Special Exhibitions at the Penn Museum

August 23, 2017

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director


kids at the museum, day of the dead, mummies

For an update on these programs, visit the Museum’s online calendar of events:

More information on the Museum’s special exhibitions can be found online at

October 3

Tuesday, 10:30 - 11:30 am
Young Children’s Program
Museum Playdate: Rome

Penn Museum’s newest program for young guests, ages 3 to 5, Museum Playdates are offered monthly, October through April (no January Playdate). Each one-hour program has a different theme connecting to one of the galleries, with activities designed for young learners: story-time and dramatic play in a gallery; art-making in a classroom; and a small snack. Cost $10 (one child and one adult); $5 for Members (one child and one adult). Additional children $2 each. Families can make it a monthly Playdate with a discounted series subscription, on sale through October 3: $55; $25 for Members. Full series schedule and topics is online:

October 4

Wednesday, 6:00 pm
Great Lectures Series: Rise of the City
The Greek Polis: Imagining the Ideal City

For 2017–2018, the Penn Museum’s popular monthly Great Lectures Series, first Wednesday evenings October through June, focuses on the Rise of the City. Peter Struck, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, kicks off the new series with a Classical focus. Aristotle famously called humans “political animals.” But by that he meant that humans are pack animals, they by nature live in clumps, and their natural clump size, he claimed, is the city, or the Greek polis. This talk examines Greek ideas about the polis, from philosophers, poets, and historians, from the archaic and classical periods. Dr. Struck examines the idea that we are by nature city creatures, and that no other mode of living fits humans so naturally as urban life. Cost: $10 general admission; $5 Penn Museum members. Advance registration recommended. For more information on the series:

October 8

Sunday, 2:00 pm
Second Sunday Film Series: Time Travel
Ghosts as time travelers
The Darkside
—Director: Warwick Thorton (2015)

The Penn Museum’s annual Second Sunday Film Series, offered October through February (no December films) and held in collaboration with the Wolf Humanities Center’s 2017–2018 Forum on Afterlives, explores Time Travel, and kicks off with a focus on ghosts. In The Darkside, ghost stories of Australia are retold by famous Australian actors. Justin McDaniel, Chair and Professor, Department of Religious Studies at Penn, and Director of the Penn Ghost Project, facilitates a discussion following the screening. The program is co-sponsored by the Religious Studies Department at Penn, the Penn Ghost Project, and Cinema Studies at Penn. Free with Museum general admission. Information on the full series is available online:

October 14

Saturday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Public Program
Second Saturday: A Focus on Rome

New this fall, the Penn Museum has something for everyone with Second Saturday programs, running monthly October through April. Guests can explore the Museum through tours, scavenger hunts, crafts, and more. In October, the focus is on ancient Rome. For information about all the Second Saturday programs, visit online: Free with Museum admission.

October 17

Tuesday, 6:00 pm
Evening Lecture
Travels of an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place

Richard Hodges, former Williams Director of Penn Museum and President of The American University of Rome, returns to discuss his new book Travels of an Archaeologist: Finding a Sense of Place. Come travel with Dr. Hodges as he explores sites across the globe and ponders the relationship of the individual with the past and the present of the past in its ruins, monuments, and traces of distant worlds and civilizations. A book signing and reception follow. Free.

October 18

Wednesday, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Homeschool Day
Archaeological Adventures: More Than Mummies

The Penn Museum’s Archaeological Adventures Homeschool Days help groups and families use the international collection to spark their students’ learning. Guests are encouraged to use the flexible format of hands-on workshops, interactions with conservators, and more to shape a customized experience around their homeschool or cyber school curricula. Explore all things Egypt at this extra spooky Homeschool Day! Take a tour or join a Storytime Expedition of our Egypt galleries to view the Sphinx, real mummies, and artifacts from the Museum’s collection. Join an interactive workshop to discover the process of mummification, or create your own tomb “False Door.” Explore hieroglyphs and Ancient Egyptian culture through an archaeology-inspired art activity. Admission: $12 per child/adult. One adult per family is free and children 3 and under are free. Advance reservations are required; reserve tickets on the website calendar: or call (215)746-6774 for more information.

October 18

Wednesday, 5:00 pm
Wolf Humanities Center Program
The Ancient Greeks and the Future of the Human Race

Edith Hall, Professor of Classics, King’s College London, a prolific author and frequent radio and television commentator, speaks as part of the Wolf Humanities Center's 2017-18 Forum on Afterlives, co-sponsored by the Department of Classical Studies and the Penn Museum. Dr. Hall poses the question: why, especially in times of great social upheaval, should we turn to the ancient past? Resurrecting Aristotle’s notion of “disciplined recollection,” she explains how it can help us manage the challenges of our own day. Advance registration: Free.

October 19

Thursday, 7:00 pm
Evening Event
The Afrosphere

Enjoy a special night of interactive global arts, bringing together contemporary live music, art, dance, and fashions of the African diaspora. Discover some of Philadelphia’s leading performing and visual artists working in various media. From diverse sounds to dance, including Reimagined Jazz, Afrobeat, Caribbean and more, in the Museum’s awe-inspiring ancient Egyptian gallery and Rotunda. Light fare and cash bar. Presented by the Artvolution Cultural Innovation Project. $10 cover.

October 21

Saturday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
International Archaeology Day

Celebrate the Penn Museum’s newest exhibition Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America, and learn more about the real work of archaeology, in North America and around the world at this special event co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Philadelphia Society. Meet archaeologist and Moundbuilders curator Megan Kassabaum and other Penn Museum researchers. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), where archaeologists and other scholars are making new discoveries about the ancient past via analyses of ceramics, metallurgy, faunal and skeletal remains, and more. Free with Museum general admission.

October 28

Saturday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
World Cultures Series: Mexico
Day of the Dead

The Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, the Mexican Cultural Center and the Penn Museum present this Day of the Dead celebration. Enjoy Mexican culture and the rich traditions of Día de los Muertos at this family-friendly afternoon filled with music and dance, storytelling, and arts and crafts. The centerpiece of the afternoon is a traditional Day of the Dead altar created by volunteers from the Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, built just for the celebration, with dedications to those who died placed upon the ofrenda (altar). Costumed guests under age 12 receive half-price admission to the celebration. Guests dressed in a Day of the Dead-themed costume such as La Catrina, or as a traditional Mexican icon like Frida Kahlo, can join a parade and costume contest! Free with Museum general admission.

Regularly Scheduled Programs:

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 look for a new experience each week, based on expedition records, vintage photographs, manuscripts, personal letters, and much more. Free with Museum general admission.

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

Lab conservators open the window, ready to answer questions about their conservation projects—anything from studying, documenting, cleaning, or mending an elegant Middle Eastern pot, an ancient Egyptian coffin lid, or other artifacts from the Museum's collections.

Saturdays and Sundays, 1:30 pm

Gallery Tours

Penn Museum docents offer hour-long guided tours of the signature galleries and special exhibitions. Weekend tours leave from Pepper Hall (just above the Main Entrance). Topics change. Check the Museum’s web calendar for current schedule:

Special Exhibitions

“What in the World?” Early Television Meets the World of Archaeology, 1950–1966

Opened September 2017. Now through March 2018

The Penn Museum Archives’ new exhibition, offered in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Provost Office’s Year of Innovation, looks back at the pioneering Penn Museum television program What in the World? which aired on WCAU Philadelphia for more than a decade, and was syndicated nationally by CBS from 1951 to 1955. By means of photographs, letters, and other documents, as well as video clips from the few surviving episodes, the exhibition looks back at the highly original game show, offered to the public in the early days of television. Hosted by Penn Museum Director Froelich Rainey, the program featured a changing panel of experts from diverse fields, including such famous people as actor Vincent Price, artist Jacques Lipschitz, and anthropologist Carleton Coon, who worked together to puzzle out where in the world an artifact from the Museum’s collections came from. Second floor Archives Corridor.

Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America

Opened June 24. Now through July 2018

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. Merle-Smith Galleries, First Floor.

Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq

Opened April 8, 2017. Now through November 26, 2018

Created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, this powerful exhibition 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..

Objects Speak: Media through Time

Now through March 4, 2018

This student-curated exhibition features 17 objects, drawn from the Penn Museum’s collection and spanning more than four millennia, that impart messages expressing power, influence, and status through diverse media. Presented in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania’s Year of Media, the exhibition makes connections between media of the past and of today. Second Floor Elevator Lobby..

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.