Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.

Experimental Archaeology in Action: Recreating an Ancient Roman Recipe

By: Sarah Linn and Olivia Wells

Food cultivation, creation, and diet are important research avenues for anthropologists as they are intertwined with the social, cultural, and economic processes of society. A primary source for learning about food history is burned, or “carbonized”, food remains often found during excavations. Archaeological scientists microscopically examine the physical characteristics of carbonized remains to determine the […]

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Cold War Archaeology: An Archival Exploration of Museum Director Froelich Rainey

By: Sarah Linn and Sarah LaPorte

This year, I was granted the wonderful opportunity to be a Penn Museum Fellow, during which I was able to expand the research that I had started working on with Dr. Lynn Meskell as a Summer Intern. The project is a large-scale archival “deep-dive” that considers multiple angles for how the US government, private industries, […]

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The Paleolithic Archaeobotany of Mughr el-Hamamah

By: Anne Tiballi and Aria Spalding

Archaeobotany is a subfield of archaeology that seeks to better understand human-plant interactions throughout history by studying ancient plant remains. Studying Paleolithic archaeobotanical remains (the Paleolithic spanning 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 years ago) can reveal a wealth of information about human behavior and ancient environments. We can learn about ancient human plant-foraging and […]

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Understanding the Life of Florence Shotridge

By: Anne Tiballi and Maria Murad

Florence Shotridge (1882-1917), or Kaatxwaaxsnéi, was a Tlingit woman from Haines, Alaska, near the Chilkoot River. She, along with her husband, Louis Shotridge, worked for the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania collecting Tlingit objects and conducting ethnographic research on their own culture. Her husband, Louis Shotridge, is a well-known Tlingit ethnographer and collector, but much […]

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The Storytellers within the Walls

By: Anne Tiballi and Miranda Souza

Rats are not something that many people want to talk about. Who wants to talk about rodents that scurry around and hide stolen things within walls and floorboards? While rats may not be top of mind for most people, they are often at work in many buildings such as museums and old houses, and are […]

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The Scrapers of Bisitun Cave

By: Anne Tiballi

Aylar Abdolahzadeh is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology. She is one of several Museum Assistants selected for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Museum Assistantship Program offers paid opportunities for University of Pennsylvania graduate students to work on unique projects within the Penn Museum. The program pairs Museum projects in need of research assistance with skilled […]

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Digging Digital Data

By: Anne Tiballi and Kacie Alaga

Over the course of the past year I had the opportunity to work on a Museum Assistantship project with Dr. Jason Herrmann titled Digging Digital Data: Revisiting the Penn Museum Expedition to Sybaris. In the early 1960s the Penn Museum partnered with the Lerici Foundation of Milan to conduct a series of geophysical surveys in […]

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Two Japanese Lanterns – Revealed

By: Stephen Lang

In my last post I left off establishing that two lanterns recently published in Expedition magazine came from Zōjō-ji temple and had come to the museum in 1919 from a Mrs. Richard Waln Meirs. While I had photos of the lanterns outside the Trescher entrance I wondered if there were other photos of them outside […]

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Summer of Endless Learning – by Katie Wenger

By: Stephanie Mach and Katie Wenger

Before starting my internship at the Penn Museum in the Development Office this summer, I had only a surface-level understanding of museum development based on the internship description and museum website. However, the internship rose above my expectations by providing me with diverse perspectives, career development, and connections with amazing professionals. Through this internship opportunity, […]

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Two Japanese Lanterns – Rediscovered

By: Stephen Lang

The cover story in the latest issue of Expedition is dedicated to two important Japanese lanterns whose significance has only recently been fully appreciated. Nine years ago I came across a metal column in a storage room that had an inscription on it but no accession number.  Curious I transcribed it and sent it off […]

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