Friday, September 15, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

People playing games at the museum

PHILADELPHIA, PA 2017—Calling Mom, Dad, the kids, Grandma, and Uncle Joe! The Penn Museum is reviving a classic concept, with a new (and old, old) twist: Family Game Night.

On Friday, September 15, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, the Museum opens its doors for a game night extraordinaire, geared to families with children ages 6 and above. Guests are invited to choose their own adventures, engage in mental and physical challenges, and explore the Museum’s international galleries like never before! The competitions abound at a series of activity-filled Adventure Stations—with chances to win prizes. Guests can try their hand at a selection of ancient board games, too, match wits at a What in the World? artifact guessing game, stop by for light bites, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on sale at a snack bar, and create a family memento of the night at a selfie booth. Admission (includes one beverage per person) is $50 for a family of four; $15 per person.

Adventure Stations

The program kicks off with a welcome gathering and orientation, before guests take off on adventures. Challenges await at seven activity Adventure Stations scattered throughout the galleries and the garden entrance: there’s a Bounce House; a Puzzle Race; Hungry, Hungry Hippos live action; and a Scavenger Hunt. Competition can get fierce at an ancient game of Knuckle Bones; a Skull Matching station; and a Hieroglyph Decoding station. Adventure Stations stay open until 8:00 pm. Guests compete to earn tickets towards a pick-a-prize raffle held later in the night.

"What in the World?", Board Games, and More

At 8:00 pm, guests reassemble for an audience participation game of What in the World?, based on the pioneering Penn Museum television program of the same name which aired on WCAU Philadelphia for more than a decade, and was syndicated nationally by CBS from 1951 to 1955. At the Game Night, the audience is shown mystery objects, drawn from the Museum’s own collection of nearly one million objects from around the world; through close observation and deduction, guests work to determine what each object is, who made it, and when.

Throughout the evening, gamers can match wits and try their luck at several ancient board games, including Senet, the Royal Game of Ur, Mancala, Pente, and Chess.

Hungry gamers can stop by at the family-friendly Snack Station set up by the Museum’s Pepper Mill Café, where light fare, including hot dogs and beverages, are available for purchase.

Win or lose, everyone can take home a personalized memento of the night with a set of photos taken at a selfie booth.

A Family Night Take on a Popular “PM @ Penn Museum” Program Series

The idea for a Family Game Night came out of requests from families who heard about some of the Penn Museum’s popular weeknight evening programs geared to young adults, and open to ages 18 and older: programs like Star Trek Night and Legends of the Hidden Temple: Penn Museum Edition, filled with gallery challenges and playful competition.

“Parents would call, asking if the Museum couldn’t do a program night like that for families,” said Tena Thomason, Assistant Director of Public Programs. “We thought that was a good idea, too!”


The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity, transforms understanding of the human experience. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 300 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage.

The Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34, and 36; and bus routes 21, 30, 40, and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.

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