Explore ancient cultures while reinforcing goals from your students’ Individualized Education Programs. Our access programs intertwine academics with social and life skills, and are appropriate for students with cognitive, sensory, motor, mobility, and behavioral disabilities. Each program is multisensory and is designed by a certified special education teacher.
Select from the Following Programs
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 will wear togas, handle reproductions of ancient artifacts, and use all of their senses to shop the Roman market using differentiated budgets.
In Touch with Ancient Egypt
Become an ancient Egyptian embalmer and help prepare Mr. Ulysses Penn for his journey to the afterlife. Students will explore each step of the mummification process, including brain removal, evisceration, desiccation, and wrapping. Tools of the trade will be available for students to touch and a Jello brain for teachers to scramble. Using their measuring skills, students will create natron to take back to the classroom so they may desiccate a piece of fruit. This workshop uses life-like mummies.
How do humans use their faces to convey emotion? Designed for students on the autism spectrum, this tour uses artifacts in our galleries to help improve upon students’ abilities to recognize facial identity, expression, and social cues. Students will engage in role play, drawing activities, and be asked to talk about their own experiences with emotion.
Multisensory Guided Tours
Explore the lives of the ancients through a guided tour of the artifacts they left behind. Our access tours are interactive and multisensory, incorporating storytelling, props, and role play. Please contact us to discuss your gallery preference.
Touch Tours and Workshops
Using their sense of touch, students with visual impairments are able to explore select objects in the Egypt galleries in addition to artifact reproductions. A hands-on workshop explores facets of ancient Egyptian history, from the process of mummification to hieroglyphs. All Touch Tours and Workshops are co-taught by guides who are blind or visually impaired and guides who are sighted. To book a tour please visit Philly Touch Tours.
Join the Penn Museum and other local families for an unforgettable night of sensory-friendly fun at our Evening Expedition. For children and teens aged 8–16 with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, this program offers a hands-on look into the lives of the ancients through active, engaging, multisensory activities. Our evening explorers will take part in an interactive game show, enjoy an introductory lesson to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, perform adaptive yoga, make crafts, and even touch artifacts from our ancient Peruvian mummy cart! The night will culminate with a flashlight tour of select Museum galleries.
Visit the Penn Museum for an exploration of emotional expression across cultures, inspired by One Book, One Philadelphia! Geared towards both children on the autism spectrum and those who are not, this Archaeological Adventures program includes a reading of My Cousin Momo and an interactive gallery tour that celebrates differences. Through close looking, role playing, and drawing activities, children explore the different ways we use and read facial expressions to convey and understand emotions today and within cultures from the past. Participants can also partake in art-making activities, storytelling, and a hands-on artifact conservation workshop focusing on Native American cultures.
Customizable Visual Schedule
Use our Customizable Visual Schedule to plan your field trip together with your students. Preview the sensory-friendly aspects of our galleries and explore our collection, and then cut and paste your itinerary into a checklist for your students to use on their visit. Click here to download.
Whether you’ve scheduled a workshop, tour, or are self-guiding, your students can preview their trip with our visual Social Stories. Our Social Stories use simplified language and outline your itinerary of programs, highlight sensory information, and discuss Museum Manners. Choose from the following three itineraries:
Identify spaces in the Museum that are quiet, less crowded, and dimly lit by using our Sensory-Friendly Map. Click here to download.
Calming and Engagement Tools