University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

As Building Transformation Project Work Progresses

Visitors Invited to Say ”See You Later!”—In Person and on Social Media—Before Temporary Gallery Closure

Sphinx in Gallery

PHILADELPHIA, PA JUNE 2018—Penn Museum’s Building Transformation Project—announced with construction hard hats in the Harrison Auditorium last fall—continues apace, as a new suite of signature Middle East Galleries just opened, while refurbishments and renovations for additional galleries, amenities, and meeting spaces are well underway.

After July 8, the Museum’s iconic and beloved lower level Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery closes for extensive artifact conservation, the first step before eventual renovations and re-envisioning for the new Ancient Egypt & Nubia Galleries. That means that after more than 100 years of educating and entertaining guests, the Museum’s beloved red granite Sphinx—the largest ancient Sphinx in the Western Hemisphere, surrounded by colossal architectural elements of a Pharaoh’s palace circa 1200 BCE—is taking a break. The new Ancient Egypt & Nubia Galleries are expected to open in four to six years.

Egyptomaniacs will be glad to know that the third floor Egyptian Galleries, including the popular Egyptian Mummies: Secrets and Science, will remain open, as does The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action, where conservators study, clean and prepare ancient Egyptian mummies, among many artifacts, answering visitor questions twice daily. In winter 2019, the Museum will unveil a new special exhibition with a focus on ancient Egypt. But no one at the Museum would deny that the Sphinx will be missed by guests and staff alike.

Opportunities to Say ”See You Later!”

With just weeks remaining before the Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery closes, the Museum offers several special opportunities to come out and see the Sphinx:

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Wawa Welcome America Free Museum Day Friday, June 29

On Friday, June 29, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, the Museum is offering a Free Museum Day as part of the Wawa Welcome America Celebration. Among the special activities for the day: Museum instructors provide a Meet and Greet with the Sphinx. Guests can learn more about the Sphinx, before creating and sharing a “see you later” message to be posted in the gallery.

“See You Later” Weekend July 7 and 8

On the final weekend that the Sphinx is accepting visitors, uly 7 and 8, a Penn Museum photographer will be on hand, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, to immortalize the visit with family and Sphinx portraits for all guests—to be emailed as keepsakes until the Sphinx returns on view—and a new, updated family photo can be taken!

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The Ultimate Sphinx Book: Read It!

Guests who want a more robust memento can stop by the Penn Museum Shop where the book, The Sphinx That Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum is available for purchase. Josef Wegner and Jennifer Houser Wegner, long-time Associate Curators in the Museum’s Egyptian section, co-authored the book, written to celebrate the centennial of the Sphinx’s arrival in 1913. The book details the original excavations and archaeological history of the Sphinx, how it came to Philadelphia, and the unexpected ways in which the Sphinx's story intersects with the history of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Museum just before World War I.

Opportunities to Share the Love on Social Media

The Museum has launched a microsite about the Sphinx and his "staycation" for guests to read about the history—and share some of their own Sphinx stories and images: www.penn.museum/sphinx. Everyone is invited to take their own new photos with the Sphinx, or to find older shots from days long gone, and share them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #sphinxtales and tag @pennmuseum! Make sure your post is public, and the Museum will share it on the site!


The Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. 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 Wednesdays, June 20 through September 5 until 8:00 pm, with outdoor Summer Nights Concert Series offered. Closed Mondays and holidays. June Museum admission is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); $10 for children (6 to 17) and full-time students with ID; $2 ACCESS and Museums for All cardholders (up to four family members per card); free for active U.S. Military, free for STAMP cardholders; free to Penn Museum Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger. Discounted July and August admission is $10 for adults, seniors and students (6 to 17); $2 ACCESS and Museums for All cardholders (up to four family members per card); free for active U.S. Military, free for STAMP cardholders; free to Penn Museum 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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