New Collections Study Room Opens

From the left, ashley scott, andrew henry, Ida Pohoriljakova, vicki Chisholm, and Jeanette Nicewinter study Moche vessels from the Penn Museum Collection in the new Collections study Room.

In March 2012, the Museum opened a new facility as part of an initiative to enhance accessibility to its collections. Located on the first floor of the Mainwaring Wing, the Collections Study Room serves as a laboratory where students can examine Museum objects first hand in conjunction with University classes. The room can accommodate up to 20 students and includes 5 state-of-the-art storage cabinets, a photography station, and an interactive SMART Board. Additionally, in order to facilitate the increased volume of collections study, two new Collections Assistant positions were created in the fall of 2011. For inquiries about access to Museum Collections, please email

Museum Participates in Philadelphia Science Festival

Penn Museum volunteer Benjamin Buhl teaches visitors about the Maya calendar.

Penn Museum’s Community Engagement Department collaborated with the Franklin Institute and 100 cultural and educational organizations to offer 14 science programs through the second annual Philadelphia Science Festival from April 20–29, 2012. The mission of the Philadelphia Science Festival is to showcase the impact of science and technology and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Family-oriented events included Clark Park Science Discovery Day, where visitors replicated a floral collar worn by the ancient Egyptian priests who conducted the funeral of King Tutankhamun, and the Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival, where visitors learned the science, math, and engineering of the ancient Maya. Eight presentations including “Why We Love Chocolate” and “Origins of Language” were offered in libraries for after school programs. Adult program highlights were “A Nerd’s Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse,” which drew over 300 attendees, and Science Connections Teachers’ Workshop, which featured “Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum.” Special thanks to Penn Museum presenters and volunteers Benjamin Buhl, Jean Byrne, Elin Danien, Prema Deshmukh, Sanjay Deshmukh, Stephanie Helle, Kristin Hoeberlein, Simon Martin, Paul Mitchell, Stephen Phillips, Elizabeth Potens, Jennifer Reifsteck, Kathleen Ryan, and Michael Sheinberg for making the Philadelphia Science Festival fun, educational, and exciting for all.

Kid Curator Program Launched

From the top, Saba, Max, Zoe, Paige, Kyle, and Gabe were the first Kid Curators.

Several thousand middle school students visit the Penn Museum on fieldtrips each year. In an effort to incorporate their unique perspectives about the artifacts they see, the Museum has launched a project entitled Kid Curator. Middle school students who visited the Penn Museum this past spring were invited to submit reactions to three of the Museum’s iconic ancient Egyptian objects: the Sphinx, the head of a colossal statue of Ramses II, and the mummy Hapi-Man. Of the 50 submissions, 6 student applicants were selected from the Academy in Manayunk and Pennwood Middle School to have their reactions printed onto labels and displayed with the objects. Kid Curator was funded by the “No Idea Is Too Ridiculous” grant and workshop project sponsored by the Heritage Philadelphia Program at the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

Happy 75th Anniversary to the Women’s Committee of the Penn Museum!

In 1937 a small group of women, primarily wives and relatives of the Penn Museum Board of Managers, formed the Women’s Committee to stimulate interest in the Museum’s research and educational programs, and to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for staff and visitors.

Members of the women’s Committee attend the dedication of the new upper Main entrance doors in october 2011.

Today, 50 members strong, the Women’s Committee works actively to develop and champion new programs designed to introduce the Museum to a wider audience, broaden its base of members and supporters, and help maintain its operations.

Almost every phase of Museum activity has benefited from Women’s Committee initiatives: research, educational programs, publications, collections work, and conservation. Programs were developed to engage a larger public, including lectures that showcased current research, and tours to archaeological sites with Museum scholars. The Women’s Committee established the Volunteer Guides program and Mobile Guides. They founded the first coffee shop and started the Pyramid Gift Shop. The Castings Committee hand-crafted reproductions of Museum artifacts for many years. For 30 years, the Women’s Committee wrote and published the Members’ “Newsletter.” The Committee also supported a public relations position until the establishment of a Public Information Office.