University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Museum

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 […]

All the Museum’s a Stage, and All the Visitors Players: Theatricality in the Museum of the American Revolution

By: Margaret Bruchac

Museum Exhibition Review by Anastasia Hutnick Enter the Visitor, strolling down sunny Old City Philadelphia streets, passing by crowds of people, feet slapping along the brick sidewalk. One can imagine children playing around the stone cannons, following their imaginations back in time to become stalwart revolutionaries, becoming a part of the museum. Or perhaps one […]

Hidden Histories at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

By: Margaret Bruchac

Museum Exhibition Review by Malkia Okech An old brick building in downtown Philadelphia, almost hidden, tucked away between main streets, houses the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. This local history museum focuses on Philadelphia and the surrounding region; a similar museum in Pittsburgh is the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania. Both act as community resource centers, […]

Song of the Abalone: As Heard From Different Ears

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Katherine Ku Abalone shell is unquestionably beautiful. Its unassuming rough exterior only serves to make its iridescent and scintillating interior even more attractive in contrast, making it comparable in aesthetic value to materials like gold, silver, and gemstones. Beyond this surface beauty, abalone is simultaneously a living thing and a life-giving force, […]

Levi Levering’s Headdress: Blurring Borders and Bridging Cultures

By: Margaret Bruchac

The feather headdress labeled 38-2-1 in the Penn Museum Collection is richly colored and composed of many types of materials. It consists of a felt cap with a leather forehead band covered with a panel of vivid loomed beadwork (in orange, blue, yellow, and white tipi shapes) and two beaded rosettes (blue, yellow, white, and […]

Baffin Island Inuit Doll: Dressed to Care

By: Margaret Bruchac

Object Analysis by Anastasia Hutnick This Inuit doll and her parka, Objects NA2549 and NA2550, respectively, were acquired by the Museum in 1914 from collector Henry F. Ford. Ford also donated 59 other objects from the Hudson Bay Area, including various articles of clothing, toys, and tools. This doll with her parka, however, is the […]

Taking the Time for Community Archaeology – Samantha Seyler

By: Anne Tiballi

This summer, with funds from the Penn Museum, I participated in the Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project in Yucatán, Mexico. This project is a collaborative initiative sponsored by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Museum of the Caste War in Tihosuco, and the Tihosuco Ejido (land commune). Although the research area I am […]

Object Matters: Considering Materiality, Meaning, and Memory

By: Margaret Bruchac

Report from the Fall 2017 Anthropology of Museums class How do Indigenous objects in museum collections “speak” to those who create, collect, curate, display, and observe them? The material traces in these objects obviously evoke connections to particular aesthetic values, beliefs, and practices, but do they also retain memories of the artisans who created them? […]

New Program for Visitors with Vision Loss

By: Kevin Schott

For over five years, the Penn Museum has been developing and offering programs for visitors who have vision loss. We started out by offering “touch tours” of the Egyptian galleries. Our Conservation Department identified real artifacts on display that our visitors with vision loss could touch with minimal impact to the artifacts. We were all […]

A Super-8 Film from 1974 Finds Its People

By: Kate Pourshariati

Last summer, through a lucky set of connections, including introduction to the Museum’s new South Asia Curator Kathleen (Kathy) Morrison, the Museum was able to reunite the anthropologist Christine Padoch with a single camera roll of super 8 film that she shot in 1974 in Malaysian Borneo. Senior Archivist Alex Pezzati located the film rolls […]

Native American Voices at the Penn Museum

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