Through March 17, 2019 Telling stories is a fundamental aspect of all human societies, but how have different cultures taken on communicating narratives? And what happens when the ways stories are told change? This special exhibition, developed by Penn student curators Braden Cordivari, Fiona Jensen-Hitch, and Linda Lin for Penn’s Year of Innovation, explores how cultures have innovated storytelling. Fifteen objects—including a Javanese Shadow puppet, a Native American story knife from Alaska, and a Neoclassical period cameo—drawn from the Penn Museum’s international collections, help to tell the tale. Read about the student curators and their process of discovery here.
Through December 2019 In May 2010, the “Tivoli Incursion,” a standoff between Jamaican security forces and a local drug trafficker and community leader wanted for extradition by the United States government, resulted in the death of at least 75 civilians in West Kingston on the island of Jamaica. This new exhibition—part art installation, part memorial, and part call to action—sheds light on those events through compelling video and audio footage featuring firsthand accounts of people directly impacted by the violence. Bearing Witness: Four Days in West Kingston is co-curated by: Deborah A. Thomas, R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor of Anthropology Deanne M. Bell, Senior Lecturer Psychology, University of East London Junior "Gabu" Wedderburn, Musician and Sound Designer, Brooklyn, NY All photos in the gallery are courtesy of Varun Baker. In Bearing Witness you will discover: The personal stories of the people who witnessed the violence. News clips, interviews and photographs showing aspects of U.S. involvement in Jamaica over time. A display of the musical traditions integral to the formation of West Kingston. Beautiful arrangements representing Jamaican spiritual traditions such as rituals, celebrations, and memorials.
Through August 2018 Penn Museum Archives’ new exhibition, offered in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania Provost Office’s Year of Innovation, looks back at the pioneering Penn Museum television program “What in the World?” which aired on WCAU Philadelphia for more than a decade, and was syndicated nationally by CBS from 1951 to 1955. By means of photographs, letters, and other documents, as well as video clips from the few surviving episodes, the exhibition looks back at the highly original game show, offered to the public in the early days of television. Hosted by Penn Museum Director Froelich Rainey, the program featured a changing panel of experts from diverse fields, including such famous people as actor Vincent Price, artist Jacques Lipschitz, and anthropologist Carleton Coon, who worked together to puzzle out where in the world an artifact from the Museum’s collections came from. Second floor Archives Corridor.
Through December 2019 You might be familiar with some of the more famous monuments around the globe—the Great Pyramids in Egypt; Stonehenge in England; Machu Picchu in Peru. But did you know we have our own impressive monuments right here in the United States? Some even older than the pyramids, these spectacular earthworks give us glimpses into more than 5,000 years of Native North American history. Moundbuilders explores the fascinating story of Native American moundbuilding through a variety of photographs, artifacts, archival materials, and excavation records. In Moundbuilders you will discover: Insights into moundbuilders through the items they discard A mythical creature that played an important role in Eastern Native American religion Hints left in the iconography of Mississippian pottery about the myths and stories of their creators Beautiful photographs documenting these massive earthworks
Through November 25, 2018 Nimrud. Aleppo. Palmyra. Ebla. These ancient sites and many others in Iraq and Syria have found their way to the top of international news today, as the destruction of cultural heritage becomes both a by-product and a tactic of ongoing war. This new exhibition, created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what’s at stake—the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people—and what’s being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum’s extensive Near East collection tell stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time. Contemporary artwork from Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist based in Cambridge, UK, provides an art intervention—a modern-day response to the artifacts and themes. The exhibition features the important work being done by the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with individuals and groups in the Middle East to help combat the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage. Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories From Syria and Iraq is made possible with support from Frederick J. Manning, W69, and the Manning Family; the Susan Drossman Sokoloff and Adam D. Sokoloff Exhibitions Fund; and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In Cultures in the Crossfire you will discover: Contemporary art juxtaposed with ancient artifacts Early reliefs with evidence they were once painted The important connection between Middle Eastern identity and religion The importance of family in Syrian and Iraqi culture
Part exhibition, and part working laboratory, a glass-enclosed conservation lab brings you right into a museum conservator’s world. See the tools of the trade and watch as conservators work on a wide array of artifacts being prepared for exhibit in the Museum’s signature galleries. Enjoy this unique opportunity to follow conservators as they protect, restore, and preserve pieces of human history in this 2,000 square foot exhibition.
How do you imagine Africa? Do you see it as the home of powerful nations? Do you think of intricately carved masks or fine art? Maybe you’re interested in the peoples living in Africa today. Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum is a special exhibition investigating your thoughts. Visitors will see a small selection from the Penn Museum’s extraordinary African collection, and are asked for their feedback on what they see. Community groups are invited to give us more detailed feedback. In this way, we will form a picture of what most visitors want to know about the vast continent of Africa. With this feedback, the museum will plan a re-installation of the African Gallery. Join the discussion! Give us your feedback to help inform the development of the new Africa Gallery. Visit the exhibition website
Today’s Native American leaders are speaking. Come and listen. Remarkable objects and contemporary voices combine to offer visitors a new understanding of the first inhabitants of this land, as told through Native American perspectives. Leave preconceptions behind and discover a living tapestry of Nations with distinct stories, histories, and identities in Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now, a new long-term interactive exhibition. Set against the backdrop of more than 200 objects from the Museum’s expansive collections from the United States and Canada, the exhibition challenges stereotypes and tells powerful stories of Native American successes in achieving independence as sovereign, self-governing Nations. At multimedia stations, visitors will experience audio and video clips of contemporary Native Americans speaking of the many ways in which they maintain their religious, political, linguistic, and artistic independence. Material highlights include Lenape objects from the Delaware Valley region, war bonnets and regalia, intricately woven baskets, contemporary Native American art, and famous stone tools from Clovis, New Mexico, that, at 9,000 to 11,000 years old, are among the oldest objects in the Museum’s collection. Over the course of five years, nearly 300 objects representing 85 tribes will be rotated for display. Visitors will be able to investigate and sort these objects according to personal interests at interactive digital stations, fashioning their own unique experiences while gaining insight into the materials on display. In Native American Voices you will discover: Local Nations Sacred Places Continuing Celebrations New Initiatives View the N.A.V. Website