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Inspiring Wonder in Middle School Students

Unpacking the Past connects Philadelphia’s Title I middle school classrooms studying ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, or ancient Mesopotamia with the world-renowned collections and teaching resources of the Penn Museum. All aspects of Unpacking the Past are FREE to teachers, students, and families. Unpacking the Past enriches “Common Core” curricula in social studies, math and science through vividly presented scenarios in the ancient world. Unpacking the Past was launched by a lead challenge grant from the GRoW Annenberg Foundation and is eligible for support through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program.

a class of students participating in unpacking the past

Unpacking the Past engages students and teachers through multiple encounters:

  • In-school presentations by mobile educators who offer an introduction to archaeology and select objects from the Museum’s collections
  • A class visit to the Museum for a guided tour of the Museum’s spectacular Egypt, Rome, or brand new Middle East galleries, followed by a STEM-rich workshop that asks students to make observations and inferences to draw conclusions about the past
  • A FREE Family Membership for all participating students
  • Teacher professional development events offering ACT 48 credit
  • Customized workshops and tours for special needs classrooms, offered throughout the full extended school year including summer months.

Unpacking the Past is offered entirely free of charge, with bus transportation provided, to every seventh-grade classroom in the School District of Philadelphia, as well as classrooms from select local charter schools.

Unpacking the Past is a partnership between the Penn Museum, the School District of Philadelphia, and our family of supporters.