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Interactive Workshops

Explore ancient worlds through hands-on workshops led by experienced museum educators. Students learn how to use artifacts as primary sources to understand the past. Life-like props and replica artifacts give students of all abilities and ages fun, interactive learning experiences.

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Elementary School Learners

Best for Grades: Pre-K-2; Also Available for Grades: 3-5
example of egyptian false door

Preparing for Eternity

Egyptian False Doors

What did the inside of an ancient Egyptian tomb look like? What did people take with them into the afterlife? Students learn about hieroglyphs, tomb offerings, and false doors—ancient Egyptian passageways between the worlds of the living and the dead. Students then create their own false doors by drawing hieroglyphs, ancient Egyptian art motifs, and the things they’d take into the afterlife.

Roman Marketplace

Do as the Romans do and take part in an interactive ancient Roman marketplace. This workshop highlights social interaction, emotional response, and functional mathematics in a simulated marketplace. Students wear togas, handle reproductions of ancient artifacts, and use all their senses to shop the Roman market using differentiated budgets.

what did the romans eat?

Make a Lasting Impression

Cylinder Seals

Discover what life was like in ancient Mesopotamia through the study of cylinder seals. These tiny stone artifacts function as the earliest known signatures, and the names and images on these objects tell us about the identities of ancient people. Students create their own cylinder seals and impress them into “clay.”

examples of past and present cities

Middle School Learners

Best for Grades: 6-8; Also Available for Grades: 3-5

Digging Up Rome

How do archaeologists interpret artifacts? Photos and video footage tell the story of Penn Museum excavations of the ancient Roman world. Students practice archaeological site interpretation, handle replica artifacts, and make observations and inferences to draw conclusions about the people that lived there.

penn archaeologists digging in Rome

Making a Mosaic

Discover the artistry of Roman mosaics in this hands-on workshop where students learn about the various forms of this decorative art and how artisans created them. Students will work in small groups, then as a class, to create a mosaic comprised of over 4,000 tesserae. The workshop also incorporates geometric equations and binary operations.

example of an ancient mosaic

Mummy Makers

Ever wonder how and why the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead? Learn how to be an embalmer and prepare Mr. Ulysses Penn for his journey to the afterlife! Using fabricated mummies, students will explore mummification through each step of the process, including brain removal, evisceration, desiccation, and wrapping. This workshop is demonstration-based and uses life-like mummies.

depiction of the egyptian afterlife

Preserving the Past

What role does a conservator play in preserving the past? In this workshop, students will explore core practices of conservation by viewing examples of conserved artifacts from the Museum’s collection and learning about the science behind deterioration and preservation. Students will then adopt the role of conservator and apply their skills in a series of hands-on conservation challenges.

penn museum conservator

We Are What We Wear

Adornment in the Ancient Middle East

What is material culture and what can it tell us about the lives of people from the ancient city of Ur? This workshop takes students on a journey from discovery to display as they learn how use close observation and questioning to piece together the past. Students will work together and use both evidence and their imaginations to create a unique display of their archaeological findings.

front and back of small artifact

High School Learners

Best for Grades: 6-8; Also Available for Grades: 3-5

The Carbon Clock

Radioactivity and Archaeological Dating

Museums, textbooks, and documentaries are filled with important dates, but where do these come from? Dating artifacts by measuring radioactive carbon-14 plays an important part in our understanding of the past. Students discover the links between science and history while using their critical thinking and Algebra/Trigonometry skills to interpret an ancient site.

example of topology by comparing age of two devices

Ceramics Lab

The Science of Craft

The Museum has thousands of Middle Eastern ceramic artifacts, but how do we learn about the society that made them? In this workshop, students will analyze a coffin through observations and a variety of scientific techniques. By comparing their data to those of other Middle Eastern pottery, students will not just practice using science to discover the technical details of an artifact but will understand how craft is a social act that can teach us about ancient people.

examples of clay analysis

Access Programs

The Penn Museum welcomes all types of learners to participate in Interactive Workshops. New Access programs include the Roman Marketplace, In Touch with Ancient Egypt, Touch Tours and Workshops, and a Faces Tour. Visit our Access Programs page for more information.

Teacher Programs

Do these programs sound like fun for educators or adults? They are! Book a workshop as part of your professional development experience or an adult group workshop.


Booking Information

Ages See Workshop Descriptions
Length 1 hour
Price $125 per workshop plus group admission
Group Size 30 student maximum
Timing Tuesday-Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
When to Book At least 6-8 weeks in advance

Contact

215.746.6774