University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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.


The Other Artifact Lab

By: Lynn Grant

Penn Museum’s Conservation Department is a happening place these days, with lots and lots of projects going on simultaneously. The upcoming renovation of our signature Egyptian Galleries is providing a special set of challenges. Among them are the many monumental architectural pieces that have been on exhibition since the galleries opened in 1926. These will […]

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New Beginnings

By: Lynn Grant

In September 2014, the Penn Museum’s Conservation Department was able to move into our long-awaited new spaces. Funded by generous donors, including lead donors A. Bruce and Margaret Mainwaring, Charles K. Williams II, and Frederick J. Manning, the spaces were designed by Samuel Anderson Architects. In the newly renovated West Wing Conservation and Teaching Labs, […]

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Conserving the Buddhist Murals: An Introduction

By: Lynn Grant

Just because artifacts have been in our collections or even on display for a long time doesn’t mean we know all about them. A case in point is the large Buddhist Murals in our Chinese Rotunda, probably the largest artifacts in our collection, at least in area. Although they’ve been on exhibition there since the […]

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A really big show

By: Lynn Grant

One factoid about the Museum that never fails to amaze in conversation is the estimate that what’s on exhibition is less than 5% of our total collections.  The usual response is, “where’s the rest of the stuff?”  The answer is ‘in storage’.  The Museum has a whole array of storerooms (my usual joke is that […]

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Conserving ENIAC (aka Project CLEANIAC)

By: Lynn Grant

One of the responsibilities of the conservation department is to provide advice and consultation on conservation matters for colleagues, the university community and the general public.  The University Community often produces some interesting queries, like the time the ICA wanted to know how to prevent pest problems when exhibiting artworks made of chocolate.  Some time […]

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Un Gran Exito

By: Lynn Grant

That’s how they say “A big success” in Honduras.  I learned that last week in Copan, the site where Penn Museum has been involved for over 25 years.  I went to Honduras in mid February with other Museum staff members (Dr. Loa Traxler, Bob Thurlow, and Tessa de Alarcon) for two purposes:  to see the […]

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Willard Libby, Alfred Nobel, and Ahanakht

By: Lynn Grant

How cool is this?  While working on a post for our Artifact Lab blog, I Googled Ahanakht, the ancient Egyptian buried in an elaborately inscribed wooden coffin in our collection.  Besides learning that Ahanakht I was the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare nome (province) in around 2000 BCE, I got a result citing […]

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The Artifact Lab takes shape

By: Lynn Grant

Last week the preparations for the Artifact Lab (see my previous post) really began to gather speed.  On Monday, Molly Gleeson the project conservator arrived and was immediately plunged into the preparations. Molly, a graduate of the UCLA/Getty program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, has experience and interest in public outreach regarding […]

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Coming soon to a gallery near you: Conservation!

By: Lynn Grant

Two years ago in this forum, I wrote about Conservation’s move to temporary, smaller quarters, blithely saying “it may be two years before we get back to our proper spaces”.  Well, as anyone who’s had renovations done knows, things take longer than expected and it will probably be another two years before we get those […]

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Conserving ENIAC (aka Project CLEANIAC)

By: Lynn Grant

One of the responsibilities of the conservation department is to provide advice and consultation on conservation matters for colleagues, the university community and the general public.  The University Community often produces some interesting queries, like the time the ICA wanted to know how to prevent pest problems when exhibiting artworks made of chocolate.  Most recently, […]

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Magic in the Ancient World

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