This issue of Expedition highlights one of the most renowned strengths of the University of Pennsylvania Museum: our archaeological and anthropological field research and laboratory analyses. While most of the readers of this magazine are certainly aware of the general importance of the Museum’s work, some may not be aware of its breadth and significance. Current research is being carried out in eighteen different countries around the globe. Supported by funds from Federal agencies, like the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, from societies and foundations, such as the National Geographic Society and the J.M. Kaplan Fund, from generous donors to the Museum, and from the Museum’s own funds, such as the Director’s Field Fund and the Fowler Research Fund (both established in recent years by Annette Merle-Smith of our Board of Overseers and her late husband), the Museum’s various projects are helping to change scholarly understanding of the cultures of both ancient and modern peoples.
Just as importantly, our researchers are working assiduously to make their contributions accessible to the general public, which will lead to better public understanding of the achievements of peoples in a wide range of time periods and environmental conditions. We are justly proud that Expedition performs this mission so well. But special events, such as our pioneering Maya Weekend, our lectures and symposia, our exhibits, and other Museum publications all serve the important effort of bringing our research to the interested public. The exciting lecture by Dr. Robert Sharer (the Shoemaker Professor of Anthropology and Curator in Charge of the American Section) given at this past Spring’s Maya Weekend on the new knowledge about the founder of Copan’s royal dynasty that his research project has produced; the forthcoming traveling exhibit on modern Mongolia, co-curated by Dr. Paula Sabloff (Senior Research Scientist in the Asian Section), which will feature the insights she has gained from her research on the rise of Mongolian democracy in the past decade; and the King Midas dinner this coming Fall, which will literally translate the laboratory analyses of Dr. Patrick McGovern (Senior Research Scientist) of the MASCA staff and his colleagues into a re-creation of the king’s funerary meal—in all of these ways, the University of Pennsylvania Museum is bringing its pathbreaking research to the public sphere.
Jeremy A. Sabloff
The Williams Director