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Graduate Advisory Council (GAC)

Penn Museum Graduate Advisory Council.

The Penn Museum Graduate Advisory Council (GAC) is a representative council dedicated to facilitating engagement among graduate students and promoting their involvement both as collaborative stakeholders within and as advisers to the Penn Museum.

GAC organizes a weekly writing group, professional and academic development workshops, and social events, including trips to other Philadelphia institutions. GAC meets once a month, and any interested graduate student enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania may become a member of the Penn Museum Graduate Advisory Council.

Get Involved

Want to learn more about GAC initiatives and meetings? Subscribe to our mailing list to receive emails and updates.


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Spring 2024 Monthly Meetings

  • January 31st, 11:30am-12:30pm, Classroom L2
    Updating the Museum's Interpretive Plan: A Conversation with Jess Bicknell (Director of Exhibitions)
  • February 28th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Classroom L2
    Getting to Know Museum Staff with Mac Thomson (Exhibitions Coordinator)
  • March 27th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Classroom L2
    Heritage West: West Philadelphia Community Archaeology Project with Meg Kassabaum (Associate Professor of Anthropology, Weingarten Associate Curator for North America) and Sarah Linn (Assistant Director of Academic Engagement)
  • April 24th, 11:30am-12:30pm, Classroom L2
    Cultural Heritage and the Penn Museum with TBD

For additional PMGAC events happening this semester, including our Weekly Writing Group, check out our calendar!

2023-2024 GAC Board

Brigitte Keslinke, President
Brigitte is a fifth year Ph.D. student in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program. Her research focuses on the intersections of food, identity, and cultural exchange, particularly in the cult of the Mithras, and she’s worked on a handful of projects in Italy and the Eastern Mediterranean. At the Penn Museum, she loves engaging with the public through the Grad Guides and Daily Dig programs, and most recently, she helped to create tours for the Ancient Food & Flavor and Stories We Wear exhibits. When not in class or the museum, you can usually find her exploring the city, taking walks in the Woodlands, sharing meals with friends, or napping (usually with her most adorable cat Clio).
Arielle Hardy, Chair of Social Programming
Arielle is a Ph.D. student in Penn’s Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World interdisciplinary graduate group (AAMW). Her academic research focuses on the Hellenistic intersections of sacred space, ritual practice, and mythology, and she has participated in archaeological projects in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Italy. Arielle also has a professional background in museums and has worked at both the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Manetti Shrem Museum of UC Davis. She is passionate about facilitating connections with the past through access to objects, and is excited to be part of the Penn Museum community! Outside academic life, Arielle loves finding fresh air—whether that be on a long hike, in the crisp air conditioning of an art museum, or on a roof deck having dinner with friends.
Chris Lamack, Chair of Academic & Professional Programming
Chris is an archaeologist and PhD student in Penn’s Department of Anthropology. With a background in southeastern historical archaeology, his current research focuses on southern India during the British colonial period (18th c. - 1947), driven by questions surrounding the growth and development of small-scale colonial industry in a British-administered district in the modern Karnataka state. A proud North Carolina native, Chris has worked on archaeological projects in the Carolinas, Ohio, India, Azerbaijan, the Republic of Georgia, and right here in southeastern Pennsylvania. Chris has been giving tours of the Penn Museum and Penn’s campus as a Graduate Guide since coming to Penn in 2019, and wrote and recorded the virtual guided tour of the Egyptian section. Previously, he was also involved in producing Ancient North Carolinians, a virtual gallery showcasing nearly 15,000 years of NC’s Native heritage featuring 3D models of archaeological objects. This will be Chris’ fifth year as a PMGAC member.
Matt Capps, Communications Chair
Matthew is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology whose work focuses on the precolonial southeastern United States. His dissertation project examines everyday life in the Natchez Bluffs region of the Lower Mississippi Valley and considers how ideas of home and belonging to a community are tied to material and landscape-scale spatial relationships. His project is connected to other work focused on paleoethnobotany, Indigenous archaeology, and landscape archaeology. In addition the PMGAC, he is a Grad Guide and a curatorial assistant for the Penn Museum’s Native North American Exhibition.
  • Student Gala for the Opening of the Stories We Wear Exhibition, September 2021.

    Graduate Advisory Council group photo.
  • Tour of Collections Storage with Steve Lang (Keeper of the Asian Collection), April 2022.

    Storage Tour of the Asian Section.
  • Field Metrology Workshop with Dr. Jason Herrmann (Kowalski Family Teaching Specialist for Digital Archaeology), March 2023.

    Students in a field workshop.
  • Tour of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, April 2023.

    GAC members at the Magic Gardens.

More Graduate Student Opportunities

The Penn Museum has many programs and opportunities just for graduate students.

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