University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Category: Research


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? […]


“Excuse Me Miss, What Newspaper Are You From?” – Leniqueca Welcome

By: Anne Tiballi

“I’m going to finish setting up here. Go ahead! You are free to talk to people and collect the information you need. You are very safe here [he smiled in reassurance]. Just let me know if you need anything, OK?” Anthony probably read my reluctance to leave his side that Saturday afternoon at the launch […]


Walls, Walls Everywhere, and None of Them in a Line – Kurtis Tanaka

By: Anne Tiballi

Returning to a project after a few seasons absence can be at once rewarding and disorienting; rewarding to see the progress and preliminary results made in the meantime, disorienting to pick up where you remember leaving things when last you were there. Certainly this was my experience at the Gordion Project this summer, to which […]


Beneath the Surface: Geoprospecting in Arkansas – Justin Reamer

By: Anne Tiballi

From May 15th to 19th, I attended the 2017 National Park Service Archaeological Geoprospection Workshop held at the Pea Ridge National Military Park (the site of the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River) in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. As an archaeologist whose research is focused on the northeastern United States, northwestern Arkansas was […]


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