Unpacking the Past Program for Philadelphia's 7th graders at the Penn Museum
“In my experience, this is the best program and trip that I’ve ever taken students on.”Charlene Jablow, Shawmont Elementary School

Unpacking the Past is a FREE three-year program that connects seventh grade classrooms studying ancient Egypt or Rome in Philadelphia public and Title I charter schools with the world-renowned collections and teaching resources of the Penn Museum. Unpacking the Past  takes a comprehensive approach to ensure that the experiences of both the students and the teachers are academically enriching and connected to the School District’s Scope and Sequence, Common Core curriculum, and 21 st Century Skills.

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Program Information

Seventh grade students and teachers can explore ancient Egypt or Rome through this programmatic package:

Part 1: Classroom Outreach Lesson

Enhance your lessons about ancient cultures by bringing the Penn Museum to you.  Outfitted in our Subaru Mummy Mobiles, our knowledgeable staff will bring a 45-minute multi-disciplinary lesson about archaeology and anthropology, all the materials, and educational supplies for your classroom.

Part 2: Museum Trip and Workshop

Shortly after the outreach lesson, plan a visit to the Museum with buses, admission, and all programs provided for FREE.  Receive a guided tour of our world-famous Egyptian or Roman galleries paired with a Mummy Makers or Making a Mosaic Hands-On Workshop .  Students learn about mummification, preservation, and other key concepts through real objects and interactive activities. The tour and workshop package last two hours and students are free to explore the Museum following their educator-led activities.

Part 3: Extend the Learning

  • Ask our educators to bring activities and artifacts to jazz up your school events such as back to school nights or report card conference days.
  • Borrow a Loan Box of artifacts for use in your classroom
  • Bring your students to the Penn Museum for a second self-guiding trip (buses not included)
  • Professional Development for teachers

Extra Benefits!

  • Teachers: Unpacking the Past tote bag filled with school supplies
  • Students: Unpacking the Past cinch pack with some small souvenirs.
  • Teachers and Student Families: One year dual adult family membership to the Penn Museum


Please book four to six weeks in advance of each activity; for best results, plan to book Part 1 and Part 2 together.


Throughout the year, all middle school teachers in Philadelphia's public and Title I charter schools are invited to attend Unpacking the Past professional development days at the Penn Museum.  During these events, teachers may preview the Unpacking the Past offerings, connect these resources to curriculum, and receive Act 48 credits. Through participation in activities, teachers learn about ancient Egypt or Rome to effectively prepare for their students' participation in Unpacking the Past , and have fun at the same time!

Please view our professional development page for upcoming dates and registration information.

Funding and Donor Recognition

Unpacking the Past is made possible through a generous lead grant awarded by GRoW Annenberg, a program of the Annenberg Foundation.

learning unpacking GRoW logo

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts .

learning unpacking GRoW logo

Additional funding provided by the Women’s Committee of the Penn Museum, the Christopher Ludwick Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, PECO and generous individual donors including the Estate of Ellen Cole Miller; Diane von Schlegell Levy and Robert M. Levy, WG74; Mrs. Louis Gerstley III, GM57; Marie A. Conn, Ph.D.; Barbara Rittenhouse; Jerry D. Levitt, M.D., C62, M66, FEL72, and Julie M. Levitt, Ph.D., C65; Mrs. Joel Bachman; and Donna Mackay, M.D. and Robert Mackay.



Learning Programs Department



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