A Masai Exhibition

As part of the Black Centennary (1879­-1980) celebration at Penn, The University Museum will present a traveling exhibition from The Galleries at F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) from December 16, 1980 to January 23, 1981. This exhibition consists of fifty of the excellent photo­graphs featured in the recent book by Carol Beckwith, and approximately a hundred articles used by the Masai of Kenya and Tanzania in both their everyday life and their ritual ceremonies.

Grant to the Education Department

The Education Department has received a grant of $5,000 from the Ludwick Insti­tute to bring more of Philadelphia’s public school children to the Museum.

African Sculpture from the University Museum Collection

In conjunction with the annual African Studies Association meetings on October 15-18 as part of the University-wide cele­bration “One Hundred Years of Black Presence at the University of Pennsyl­vania,” the University Museum has placed on view in the entrance gallery of the Sharpe Wing some examples of sculp­ture from sub-Saharan Africa. The pieces were selected by Dr. Paula Ben-Amos, Research Associate in the Museum, for their beauty and significance. They will remain on view until February 15. This exhibition is supported by the provost’s office of the University.

Among the pieces shown are several collected by H. U. Hall, past curator of the Museum’s African Section, during a Museum-sponsored expedition to Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone in 1936-37. These are a series of walking sticks collected in various chiefdoms among the Mende and Sherbro (Bolom), and a half-length figure of a girl carved in one piece within a shallow bowl and thought to have magical powers. Also shown are three unusual wooden pieces from the Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria: a carved comb with the figure of a man on horseback, the top figure of a village cult rattle staff, and a rare carved antelope head.

The Museum’s superb collection of Benin bronzes and ivories is on view in the permanent African gallery on the floor above.

A Conference on University Museums

A conference entitled “University Museums: Assets or Liabilities,” will be held at The University Museum from December 9 through 12. Funded by a $20,981.00 grant from the Institute of Museum Services, it was organized by Dr. Mary Elizabeth King, Keeper of Collec­tions, and is designed to bring together directors and administrators of university museums of anthropology, history and science. The conference will begin with an introduction by Martin Biddle, Director of the University Museum, followed by welcoming remarks to those attending by Dr. Martin Meyerson, President of the University of Pennsylvania.

The International Classroom

The International Classroom, an affiliate of the Educational Department of the University Museum, is a program that co­ordinates foreign student visits to Philadelphia-area classrooms from pre­school through college to promote inter­national understanding. Founded here in 1961, it is the oldest, most extensive pro­gram of cross-cultural curriculum enrich­ment in the United States and has served as a national model. In September 1980 it was awarded a grant of $55,000 by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to spark similar programs throughout the country and to assist some projects already underway. A 28-minute film and slide presentation together with a resource packet about the program will be distributed nationally.

Locally, it works closely with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, the Social Studies Division of the Philadelphia Public Schools, suburban schools, and International House.

In 1979-80 it reached some 33,000 young people and adults. Special projects included teacher-training seminars with the World Affairs Council, and individual tutoring for Indo-Chinese refugee children in West Philadelphia schools. “The World, Ancient and Modern” program, run in cooperation with the Education Department of the University Museum, brought classes to the Museum for a tour of a selected gallery, followed by a talk on what life is like today in the part of the world where the things they have just seen in the gallery were made and used. Grants from the Philadelphia Foundation, Seybert Institutions and Ludwick Foundation made these visits possible for a hundred public school classes last year.