University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Student Research at the Penn Museum

The Penn Museum welcomes and encourages undergraduate and graduate student researchers to make use of its collections for class projects and independent research. The Museum’s nearly one million artifacts are primary sources of the cultures that made and used them, from which students can draw information or inspiration whether for a senior thesis, master’s thesis, dissertation, journal article, conference poster, or independent study.

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Getting Started

Feel free to browse the galleries and exhibitions in person during our regular hours or access the collection from anywhere through our digital collections.

The website also has articles, blogs, lectures, and miscellaneous projects by students, staff, and faculty that can provide a springboard to thinking about the many ways one can approach working with the Museum’s collection.

Still not sure where to start? EmailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can begin the conversation about how to incorporate the Museum collections into your project.


Working with the Collection

Seeing Objects on Display

The Museum galleries and exhibitions are open to explore during our regular hours. While objects on display must remain in situ, one can gather a wealth of information and make numerous insights from the other side of the glass. Some of the Museum’s most interesting, noteworthy, important, and informative artifacts are those on display. Student researchers are also free to photograph (without flash) or draw (dry materials only) in the galleries.

Our ongoing Building Transformation has affected the availability and accessibility of some galleries. Please check the website before your visit for gallery closures or detours to ensure that you can access what you would like to see.

Seeing Objects Not on Display

If the objects you would like to study are not on display, however, please make an appointment with the above request form. In addition to a list of specific objects that you would like to see, please provide us with a brief description of your project and how your visit fits into it.

All research requests must be received at least one week prior to the research appointment. Research appointments are available between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, and are scheduled based on staff availability.

Please see our Student Collections Research Policy for more information about your visit regarding object handling, photography, scientific testing, equipment, publications, and more. You can also email us atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with specific questions.


Researching the Collection

Museum Archives

The Museum Archives is home to the Museum’s excavation and expedition records, administrative documents, film archives, photograph and drawing collections, and more.

To visit the Archives, please emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please note that visits to the Archives are by appointment only and may have limited accessibility during various phases of the Building Transformation Please check with Archives staff when you make your appointment about accessibility.

Museum Library

The Museum> Library collection specializes in resources that support research in archaeology, anthropology, and is home to two rare books collections. Located inside the Museum’s building, the Library is part of the greater Penn Library system and open to the public. Please check their website for hours. While appointments are not needed, you can schedule a consultation or instructional session with a librarian.


Contact

Academic Engagement Department

students@pennmuseum.org

215.746.6978

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