University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Museum


Browsing the Collection Geographically

By: Michael Condiff

Now Available: Browse the Penn Museum object collection geographically, via an interactive map. Choose from over 1,100 locations around the world, which provide access to more than 92% of the Penn Museum’s collections online. Since we launched the online collections in 2011, there was always the intention of providing a way to browse the collection […]


Fly, Eagles, Fly!

sphinx with eagles head

By: Margaret Spencer

So, I hear there is some kind of sportsball spectacular coming up soon, and that Philadelphia is going to be part of it. Something about a super bowl? Well, we here at the Penn Museum have a LOT of super bowls! Take a look at these: And if you want eagles, hey, we’ve got eagles!!!!! […]


Tracing the Threads of Early New France – Kelsey Salvesen

By: Anne Tiballi

As a PhD candidate in History, specializing in early North America and the French Atlantic (largely in the 17th and 18th centuries, with some spillover into the 19th century), my research has taken me to archives in a variety of cities in several different countries. Until this summer, I had chiefly worked with documentary archives—handling […]


Beyond the Frame: Acee Blue Eagle in the Penn Museum

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Malkia Okech “Medicine Man on Horse” is a painting on paper. A Pawnee artwork with colors of blue and yellow standing out, supported by accents of red and green. A man sits astride a horse, wearing leather hide leggings, a buffalo-head headpiece with horns, moccasins, and gloves, and his face is painted. […]


A Vision of Color: Contextualizing a Peyote Rattle in Time and Space

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Margaret Bruchac and Sheridan Small During the era of American westward expansion, many Native American peoples were forced from their ancestral lands and confined to reservations. The Winnebago people, for example, went through several territorial dislocations as a result of three major cession treaties with the fledgling United States. They were removed […]


Butterfly Maiden Katsina: What Makes an Object Beautiful?

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Anastasia Hutnick Some Native objects can inspire awe in non-Native viewers, much in the way that one might respond to a fine work of art without knowing the cultural background of the imagery. The most intriguing objects (in my professor’s opinion) are those that “remind us of what came before” and that […]


Living Tradition: The Penobscot Root Club

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Malkia Okech Two Penobscot root clubs collected by A. H. Gottschall (object # 97-84-2123 and 97-84-2124) came to the Penn Museum from the Academy of Natural Sciences in 1936. Adorned with intricate carving and paint, root clubs are a long-standing tradition of the Penobscot tribe located in Maine.[1] Although we know nothing […]


Inquisitive Students: A Review of “Curious Revolutionaries” at the American Philosophical Society

By: Margaret Bruchac

Museum Exhibition Review by Sheridan Small Throughout the semester we have been discussing how modern museums resemble and differ from their predecessors, particularly cabinets of curiosities. Therefore, it was intriguing to see an exhibit that told the story of an early museum that seemed like a cabinet of curiosities, but was adamantly not an assortment […]


Visualizing Native People in Philadelphia’s Museums: Public Views and Student Reviews

By: Margaret Bruchac

Material representations of Indigenous history in public museums do more than merely present the past. Exhibitions are always incomplete and idiosyncratic, revealing only a small window into the social worlds of diverse human communities. Museums create, in essence, staged assemblages: compositions of objects, documents, portraits, and other material things that have been filtered through an […]


Moundbuilders: A Physical Reflection of Cultural Significance

By: Margaret Bruchac

Museum Exhibition Review by Katherine C. Ku At first glance, the “Moundbuilders” exhibit can seem unassuming. It is not particularly large or flashy, but is rather gracefully reticent. Though it doesn’t demand one’s attention like the other parts of the Penn Museum (like, say, the Sphinx or Queen Puabi’s headdress), it contains multitudes, offering meditations […]


Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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