Museum News

Originally Published in 2017

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New Acquisitions

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Baker’s suitcase. Diverse travel stickers reflect her numerous trips taken around the world during her time working as an artist and a teacher. PM object 2017-19-1.1.

The Museum Archives recently acquired a suitcase and its contents belonging to M. Louise Baker, who worked at the Museum from 1908 to 1936. The suitcase is covered with travel stickers from the many places Baker visited in the 1930s. We also received 40 black-and-white negatives, the only surviving letter to Baker’s long-time companion Constance Allen, an eyeglass case, a travel magazine, news clippings, and a magnifying lens in a box.

During her lifetime, Louise Baker (1872–1962) was recognized as the preeminent artist for archaeological illustration. The Penn Museum houses most of Baker’s extant work, including her paintings of Maya pottery, drawings of Museum objects, and illustrations for the Museum’s children’s magazine (see article on page 10). In 2011 we acquired Baker’s personal papers—diaries, scrapbooks, and photographs—from her nephew Alan Noble.

Travel stickers from M. Louise Baker’s suitcase. She sailed on the Queen Mary in Third Class from Southampton to New York on September 2, 1936.
travel sticker
Travel Sticker

Museum Objects Travel the World

The Penn Museum has an active loan program to institutions in the United States and abroad. Below is a selection of some of the objects currently out on loan.

1-2. Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas

Venue 1: J. Paul Getty Museum

Los Angeles, CA

Opens September 15, 2017, closes January 28, 2018

Venue 2: Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York, NY

Opens February 26, 2018, closes May 28, 2018

Two objects from the American Section: Ecuador, 600 BCE–400 CE.

3-4. The Horse in Ancient Greek Art

Venue 1: National Sporting Library & Museum

Middleburg, VA

Opens September 9, 2017, closes January 14, 2018

Venue 2: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Richmond, VA

Opens February 17, 2018, closes July 8, 2018

Three objects from the Mediterranean Section.

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CAAM Turns Three!

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ANTH 148: Food and Fire. Kate Moore (standing, bottom of photo) teaching 56 undergraduate students in the Widener Lecture Room, Fall 2016. Recitations were taught in the CAAM labs and classroom.

The Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) is celebrating its first three years of operation. Opened in September 2014, the Center is now fully staffed with teaching specialists representing different areas of expertise in archaeological science. Every semester, CAAM schedules four to five courses for Penn undergraduate and graduate students and, since Fall 2016, offers a Minor in Archaeological Science. On average, about 200 students per week come to the Center for classes, recitations, and research. CAAM is also reaching out to the wider community with tours, open labs, workshops, and talks developed for the general public, high school students, and teachers. In May 2017, CAAM launched a new series of Intensive Courses for professionals and graduate students.

A Career Celebration for Robert Ousterhout

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Robert Ousterhout in center with black glasses, with symposium participants.

On April 7–8, 2017, friends, colleagues, and students (past and present) gathered at the Penn Museum to honor Professor Robert Ousterhout, who retired from Penn’s History of Art Department in May. The symposium “Constructing Sacred Space” included papers delivered by 14 international scholars. Ousterhout has curated or co-curated exhibitions at the Museum, including Archaeologists & Travelers in Ottoman Lands (2010), Vaults of Heaven (2012), Sacred Spaces (2014), and Magic in the Ancient World (2016).

Foundation and Government Grants Support Museum

The Penn Museum is honored to announce several recent grants that support its core building renovation and new galleries project and advance its key teaching programs and strategic initiatives.

Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Coby Foundation, and the Rosen Foundation will support the new Middle East Galleries, while a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will fund new K-12 programs in ancient Mesopotamia, enriching the new gallery experience for our school visitors. Additional new grants from the PNC Charitable Trusts, PECO, the Bard Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, and the Lindback Foundation will also support K-12 programming, while a grant from the BNY Mellon Charitable Trusts makes possible the continuation of Touch Tours for visually impaired visitors.

Grants from the Stockman Family Foundation and the American Research Center in Egypt fund conservation of monumental objects in the Asian and Egyptian Collections, and a grant from the McLean Contributionship will support renovations to the Museum’s Harrison and Coxe Wings, including new visitor amenities and accessibility upgrades.

A new grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation continues the Academic Engagement Program, which has been transformational in advancing the Museum as a major center for object-based learning across and beyond the Penn campus, while a grant from the Barra Foundation’s Catalyst Fund program supports an innovative program to train immigrant and refugee docents to give tours that feature personal narratives in galleries housing collections from their home countries.

The Museum was especially honored to be cited as an “exemplary arts and culture institution” by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and to be one of only two organizations awarded the Center’s Advancement Grant, in 2017, which will advance strategic planning in programming.

Finally, the Museum gratefully acknowledges the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund for always-important unrestricted operating funds.

Take a Seat in the Restored Harrison Auditorium

Since it opened in 1915, the Harrison Auditorium has remained one of the largest spaces on campus, a go-to venue for University and community functions alike. Hosting lectures by preeminent scholars, to family program performances such as those held at the Museum’s annual World Culture Days, to town halls with our elected officials, this is a space that enables education, inspiration, and engagement.

Beginning in early 2018, the Auditorium will be renovated and restored to its full potential, including enhanced visitor amenities, accessibility upgrades, and new lighting and projection systems. Rather than replace, we will be able to refurbish the beautiful seats that were originally installed in the 1940s, retaining the Auditorium’s historic charm.

The Penn Museum is pleased to offer a special chance to be part of the Harrison Auditorium’s history to come: members and friends are invited to support the renovations, have their name or the name of their honoree installed on an elegant metal plaque on one of the restored seats, and attend a special groundbreaking event with Penn President Amy Gutmann and Williams Director Julian Siggers on November 1, 2017. For more information, please see the inside back cover, or contact Kristen Lauerman (call 215.573.5251 or email

Cite This Article

"Museum News." Expedition Magazine 59, no. 2 (September, 2017): -. Accessed April 20, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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