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Penn Museum Opens New Eastern Mediterranean Gallery with a Two-Day Celebration, November 19–20

November 02, 2022

Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director


Penn Museum's Eastern Mediterranean Gallery installation in-progress
The re-creation of an ancient sunken ship reveals its likely cargo—from pottery vessels to golden jewelry. Photo of gallery installation in progress: Penn Museum.

PHILADELPHIA—The Penn Museum will reveal its new Eastern Mediterranean Gallery: Crossroads of Cultures with a public Opening Weekend celebration, November 19-20, 2022 from 10:00 am-4:00 pm.

Featuring live performances, pop-up talks, and workshops, the two-day celebration marks the official opening of the Museum’s reimagined permanent gallery, which takes a region often known for conflict and tells a new story about human ingenuity and the creative power of cross-cultural collaboration.

Interactive, multi-sensory elements involving touch, sight, and smell will bring the process of archaeological excavation to life, making connections between the region’s past and the contemporary world by showing visitors how innovations rooted in this diverse region continue to have an impact today—from the world’s first alphabet to the origins of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

During Opening Weekend, the Museum will host hands-on activities for all ages, including make-your-own cylinder seals, paper mosaics, and votive offerings to celebrate family traditions; scavenger hunts; and drumming and dance workshops. In addition, the Penn Museum Archives Department will open its doors to the public, enabling everyone to view photographs and original documents from the Museum’s foundational excavations at Kourion, Cyprus and Beth Shean, Israel.

Activities during Opening Weekend include:

11:00 am—1:00 pm Stories from the Penn Museum Archives
Photographs, drawings, and original documents from the excavations at Kourion and Beth Shean are on display.

11:00 am Drum workshop
Artist Joseph Tayoun leads a workshop about the doumbek, a Middle Eastern percussion instrument.

12:00 pm—1:00 pm Cylinder Seal workshop
Visitors can make-their-own cylinder seals and roll out a clay imprint to take home.

1:00 pm Dabke Dance workshop
Artist Michele Tayoun leads a workshop about an Arabic folk dance that originated in the mountains of the Levantine region.

1:00 pm—2:30 pm (Saturday only)
Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials: Open House
The Penn Museum’s laboratory space, the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM), will open its doors to the public to showcase their work on artifacts from the Eastern Mediterranean.

3:00 pm Al-Bustan Ensemble
A live performance from a Middle Eastern musical ensemble.

All Opening Weekend celebration activities, including access to the Eastern Mediterranean Gallery, are included with Penn Museum admission.


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.