University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Unsung Heroes

From the Editor

By: Jane Hickman

For 130 years, men and women have worked on excavations and expeditions for the Penn Museum, sometimes under extraordinary and difficult conditions. They returned to Philadelphia to publish their findings, enhancing the reputation of the Museum around the world. We believe one of the missions of Expedition is to rediscover these individuals and remind our […]


The Power of Programming

Julian Siggers
From the Director

By: Julian Siggers

As the November groundbreaking for renovations to our Coxe and Harrison Wings approaches, we have been spending an enormous amount of time and energy planning for the construction, renovations, and new galleries. As I’ve said, these will produce a new Penn Museum, a space that can welcome all of our visitors, allow them to circulate […]


Transformation Update

Conservator with object
The New Penn Museum

We hope that you discover something new each time you visit the Museum. Beginning early in 2018, after we break ground for the inaugural phase of our Coxe and Harrison Wing renovations in November, you will certainly discover a different look at the Kamin Main Entrance: we will be putting up construction walls behind the […]


Middle East Galleries: Textile Rotations

photos of objetcs
Gallery Sneak Peek

The Middle East Galleries will contain a case featuring rotating collections of textiles, thanks to support from the Coby Foundation (see “The New Penn Museum: Transformation Update”). In particular, the Museum holds two remarkable textile collections that will be showcased. The first, from the 16th and 17th centuries, includes extraordinary luxury fabrics like NEP6 (at […]


Extraordinary Monuments from North America

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Exhibition Spotlight

Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America opened on June 24, 2017 at the Penn Museum. This exhibition tells the story of the 5,000-year-old practice of mound construction in Native North America. Using photographs, archival records, and artifacts excavated at mound sites throughout the eastern United States, Moundbuilders demonstrates that you do not need a passport […]


Mary Louise Baker

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A Woman of Uncommon Talent

By: Janet Simon

Mary Louise Baker worked at the Penn Museum as an artist and restorer for 28 years, from 1908 until 1936, when poor eyesight forced her to retire. She was considered one of the best archaeological illustrators of her time, as she traveled to the far reaches of the world in her service to the Museum. […]


From Plague to Profit

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Chambira Weaving in Amazonian Peru

By: Daniel Bauer

Global integration, through tourism and conservation efforts, has shaped resource use in rural Amazonia. The chambira (chahm-BEE-ra) palm (Astrocaryum chambira), once a plant that was considered by locals to be a nuisance, has gained value and economic importance in numerous communities throughout the Peruvian Amazon. Use of the chambira represents an alternative livelihood strategy for […]


Bonnie O’Boyle

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Finding a Home Away from Home

I transferred to Penn in my junior year; I was interested in Oriental Studies. I had started learning some Japanese with a Japanese nun who was at my previous college. I had a very good grounding by that time in Western Culture but all that I knew about the East were things like Marco Polo […]


The Mystery of Queen of La Florida-Namaan

Drawing of jewels

By: Joanne Baron

During the 2016 field season at La Florida, a fascinating discovery was made. A large stela with the carved image of a royal woman was revealed just inches below the surface. Who was this mystery queen and what can this monument tell us about La Florida’s political dynasty? The Classic Maya site of La Florida […]


When Museums Tackle Tough Topics

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New Public Programs Foster Community Dialogue

By: Kate Quinn

The Penn Museum’s Building Transformation Campaign works on more than one register—as it transforms its physical space and presents its collection in a dramatically different and relevant way, our Museum will also transform the ways it invites visitors to engage with the remarkable collections that tell the story of our common human history. At the […]