The Penn Compact and Penn Museum

From the Director

By: Richard M. Leventhal

Originally Published in 2006

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richard-leventhalPresident Amy Gutmann’s vision for the University of Pennsylvania — “the Penn Compact”—articulates a three-part program focused upon the main principles of increased access, integrated knowledge, and local and global engagement. The connection between these principles and the vision and activities of Penn Museum is extremely strong. In fact, the Penn Compact fits the Museum better than perhaps any other unit on campus today. Let me describe several of these points of intersection.

Increased Access: This principle focuses upon increasing access for students to a Penn education. Although the Museum is not a school and does not have its own students, we are greatly connected to Penn’s educational process. More than 45,000 grade school children from the Philadelphia region come to the Museum every year on class trips and with educational programs. For many K-12 students, this visit is their first to a major museum or to a university campus. Such educational programs create a sense of connection between young students and Penn that will eventually lead to increased access.

Integrated Knowledge: The Museum’s mission focuses upon integrating knowledge from many disciplines in our study of humans and human societies from the past and present. Within the Museum, our faculty, curators, and researchers come from many academic departments with different approaches. These include scholars associated with the School of Arts and Sciences in the Departments of Anthropology, Classics, History, History of Art, Philosophy, Biology, and others. At the same time, we maintain strong links to scholars working in Penn’s Engineering, Dental, Law, Design, Medical, and Annenberg (Communications) Schools, as well as the Morris Arboretum. Our broad mission to study humans integrates this knowledge within our walls—whether associated with research, with conferences, or through exhibits and public dissemination.

Local and Global Engagement: The Museum, again, is central to Penn’s vision for local and global engagement. We are deeply engaged in the local community—from the school groups who visit the Museum, to our thriving summer camp, to local members, and even to work conducted in local communities. At the same time, Museum researchers are actively involved in both research and development work on more than 80 projects throughout the world. But research is only the beginning: many of these projects are focused upon issues of cultural property preservation, the development and preservation of national parks, economic development associated with tourism, and other issues of great and immediate importance.

President Gutmann’s vision for Penn is a broad one that includes all parts of a future university. But for the Museum, the Penn Compact fits our current set of activities, describing both what we do today and what we will continue to do in the future.


Richard M. Leventhal, Ph.D.
The Williams Director

Cite This Article

Leventhal, Richard M.. "The Penn Compact and Penn Museum." Expedition Magazine 48, no. 2 (July, 2006): -. Accessed April 21, 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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