University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

The 100th Anniversary of the Harrison Rotunda at the Penn Museum


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Film Description:One of the grandest domes in the country, the Penn Museum’s Harrison rotunda, completed in 1915 and long home to an internationally renowned collection of Chinese art, soars an impressive 90 feet high. David Brownlee, Ph.D., Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor of the History of Art, shares his insights into the historical architectural significance of the rotunda and the auditorium that rests directly below. The completion of the rotunda, he notes, demonstrated the University's great and modern rationality and its sustained commitment to its museum master plan, designed to accommodate infinite expansion of the museum as its collections grew. It also demonstrated the continued experimentation with architectural vocabulary by its very creative architects. Finally, it was assuredly a bravura display of the nearly magical structural capacity of the Guastavino vaulting system.

Alessandro Pezzati, Senior Archivist, shares stories about the construction and opening of these iconic spaces.
Video Category:Lecture
Video Date:11/08/2015
Contributor: Alessandro Pezzati | David Brownlee
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