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.


Fishing for Clues on the Smith Creek Archaeological Project

Ashley Terry sifts dirt through a 1/2-inch screen, during the Smith Creek Archaeological Project's 2015 season.

By: Tom Stanley

In addition to this Sunday, June 18 being Father’s Day, it’s also something called “Go Fishing Day”—at least, according to the Internet, it is. To me, it’s a leisure activity; to others throughout the history of the Americas, it’s been a necessity for subsistence. For those of us who don’t have time to drive out […]

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Decolonizing Museums: A Visit to the Tomaquag Museum

By: Stephanie Mach

In June of 2016, the Wampum Trail research team visited the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island. Our team consists of Project Director Dr. Margaret Bruchac and two graduate students in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, Lise Puyo and myself, as research assistants. Funding from the Penn Museum has enabled us to visit museums […]

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Contemplating the Void: Peopling the Past in Living History Museums – Lise Puyo

By: Margaret Bruchac

Every year the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. Report from the field […]

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Wampum Field Report Part 2: Kaianerasere’Kówa – Stephanie Mach

By: Stephanie Mach

Every year the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. This is Part 2 […]

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Wampum Field Report Part 1: Blueberry Stands, Beaver Dams, and Mannequins – Stephanie Mach

By: Stephanie Mach

Every year the Penn Museum provides support to Penn undergraduates and graduate students as they deepen their understanding of the human experience outside the Museum’s walls. Follow these blog posts from our intrepid young scholars as they report on the sights and sites that they encounter throughout their travels in the field. This season I continued […]

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The Speck Connection: Recovering Histories of Indigenous Objects

By: Margaret Bruchac

Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881–1950), acknowledged as one of the most prolific anthropologists of the early 20th century, served as chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly four decades (1913–1949). He conducted ground-breaking ethnographic research, working closely with Indigenous informants from a wide range of communities (Cherokee, Haudenosaunee, Mohegan, Nanticoke, […]

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Anthropology Puzzles from the Archives

By: Lee Roueche

Recently I tumbled down the rabbit hole of the Penn Museum Archives with Senior Archivist, Alex Pezzati.  What started as a search for sketches of the Tiffany mosaics on our building, spiraled into Alex pulling out dozens of other collections of images, sketches, documents, and books for me to look through.  Every manilla folder we opened provided an opportunity for […]

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Looking for a good book this summer?

By: Lee Roueche

“There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs.” -Eyes and Ears, 1862 Henry Ward Beecher Now that the summer vacation season is upon us, it is time to draw up a summer reading list […]

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Conservation of Masks for Maya 2012: Lords of Time

By: Tessa de Alarcon

  One of the projects that we’re working on in the conservation lab right now is preparations for the Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibition (opening on May 5th!). We’re currently examining and treating Guatemalan face masks. A common problem that many of these masks have is flaking paint.             […]

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The Daily Pennsylvanian explores the secrets of the Penn Museum

By: Josh

  In the days leading up to Halloween, Julie Xie of The Daily Pennsylvanian took a tour of the Penn Museum’s galleries and storage rooms with its senior archivist Alex Pezzati. “If a ghost exists, this is a great place for them” Read More.

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