University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Athropology

Author: Louise Krasniewicz

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Taking a Chance on Chance

By: Louise Krasniewicz

In the popular video slot machine called “Pompeii,” a chorus of male voices chants, “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” when gold coins consecutively appear on the first three reels. The chant is mesmerizing, encouraging continuous and rapid play so that the familiar phrase can be completed. The machine repeats “Veni” over and over again if only the first coin […]

‘Round Up the Usual Suspects’

Anthropology Goes to the Movies

By: Louise Krasniewicz

In 1946, while most anthropologists were exercising their professional skills and curiosities in cultures far from home, Hortense Powdermaker took on a most daring research project. Applying the training in participant-observation she had fine-tuned in the South Pacific, Powdermaker set her sights on that elusive social system known as Hollywood. That year one of the […]

All the World in One Place

Educating Visitors About the Changing World

By: Louise Krasniewicz

In 1876, the President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, and the reigning Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro II, turned cranks that set into motion the world’s largest steam engine at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The Corliss engine— at 1400 horsepower and towering 40 feet over the heads of the opening ceremony crowds— […]