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Past Galleries & Exhibitions

The Stories We Wear

Closed on June 12, 2022*

The clothing, accessories, and decorations we put on our bodies tell stories about who we are. They shape how others see us and how we see ourselves.

Canaan & Ancient Israel Gallery

Closed on August 1, 2021

The region today encompassing Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and adjacent parts of Syria for thousands of years experienced occupation by foreign rule. The artifacts in this Gallery explore how people responded and adapted to occupation, and how they lived their daily lives.

Living with the Sea

Closed on March 20, 2022

Curated by three Penn undergraduate students, Living with the Sea: Charting the Pacific highlights the Penn Museum’s rarely seen Oceanian collection.

Invisible Beauty

The Art of Archaeological Science

Closed on June 6, 2021

Even the smallest artifacts and specimens are packed with hidden information about the past—we just need the right technology to see it.

Bearing Witness

Four Days in West Kingston

Closed on April 26, 2020

In May 2010, the “Tivoli Incursion,” a standoff between Jamaican security forces and a local drug trafficker and community leader wanted for extradition by the United States government, resulted in the death of at least 75 civilians in West Kingston on the island of Jamaica. This new exhibition—part art installation, part memorial, and part call to action—sheds light on those events through compelling video and audio footage featuring firsthand accounts of people directly impacted by the violence.

Heritage in Our Hands

UNESCO 50 Years Later

Closed on February 26, 2023

What does heritage mean to you? In 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) came together to identify and protect important heritage sites around the world.


Ancient Architects of North America

Closed on April 26, 2020

Moundbuilders explores the fascinating story of Native American moundbuilding through a variety of photographs, artifacts, archival materials, and excavation records.

Memory Keepers

Why Objects Matter

Closed on February 3, 2020

The year-long exhibition draws upon the Museum’s vast collections to tell a story about making memory through objects. Objects from North America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean have been selected to help illustrate how objects have been used for commemoration.

The Ballad of Special Ops Cody

Michael Rakowitz

Closed on March 1, 2020

In this 14-minute stop-motion video, an action figure, voiced by an Iraq War veteran, confronts Mesopotamian votive statues in vitrines at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The film includes important themes including the movement of objects, repatriation, and connections between archaeology and contemporary politics.