Since its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has collected nearly one million objects, many obtained directly through its own field excavations or anthropological research. The Museum's vast and varied collections are in active service to the University of Pennsylvania community and researchers from all over the world. Research Access to the Collections The Penn Museum welcomes and encourages researchers to make use of its collections. Read More: Research Access to the Collections Teaching Access to the Collections The Penn Museum welcomes and encourages Penn faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants to make use of its collections. Read More: For Penn Instructors Request Object Photography/Illustration The Penn Museum welcomes requests for object photography and illustration reproductions.  Read More: Request Object Photography/Illustration


Since its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has collected nearly one million objects, many obtained directly through its own field excavations or anthropological research. The Museum's vast and varied collections are in active service to the University of Pennsylvania community and researchers from all over the world. For Research To request permission to photograph and/or illustrate objects in the Museum’s collection, please download the Photography/Illustration Permission Form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloake654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addye654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2 = 'photos' + '@'; addye654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2 = addye654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2 + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org'; var addy_texte654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2 = 'photos' + '@' + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org';document.getElementById('cloake654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2').innerHTML += ''+addy_texte654662fafa97f5e36e256790c03e0a2+''; . By completing this form, you are assigning copyright to these photographs and illustrations to the Penn Museum unless otherwise specified. These photographs and illustrations may only be used for research purposes (including public presentations) and are not eligible for further reproduction, distribution, exhibition, or publication.   Get the Form For Publication To obtain publication-quality photographs and illustrations of Museum objects and the permission to publish photographs and illustrations, please email the Museum Archives at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24 = 'photos' + '@'; addy36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24 = addy36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24 + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org'; var addy_text36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24 = 'photos' + '@' + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org';document.getElementById('cloak36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24').innerHTML += ''+addy_text36171c9473095995eeb5f9ef91349a24+''; .


The Penn Museum welcomes and encourages researchers to make use of its collections. We have world-class collections of objects from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, ancient Egypt, the Mediterranean, and the Near East, as well as extensive photographic, film, and document archives and a significant collection of biological specimens and remains in our Physical Anthropology collection. We make every effort to accommodate research requests, however, mitigating circumstances (including but not limited to inaccessibility, fragility, publication status, sacred nature, construction, and time constraints) may restrict access to some materials.  Guidelines for Access to CollectionsThe following guidelines for researchers have been developed to facilitate the study of our collections while maintaining the safety and security of the Museum’s irreplaceable objects. Anyone not adhering to these guidelines may be asked to leave the Museum’s storage and study areas. Any changes from these guidelines must be obtained in writing in advance from the relevant Contact Person. All research requests must be submitted at least 3 weeks in advance of the desired dates for a research visit that involves access to the Museum’s collections. Only persons who are listed on the Research Request Form  will be permitted in storage and study areas. Research will be conducted at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on weekdays (Monday-Friday) between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. A mandatory one hour lunch break will be scheduled by the relevant Contact Person. Researchers must observe all Museum access and security regulations while in storage and study areas and must follow instructions from Museum staff. Researchers must wear Visitor Badges at all times. Researchers must leave all coats, umbrellas, backpacks, unneeded bags, briefcases, etc., in either the Registrar’s Office, the office of the relevant Contact Person, or another designated area. The Museum does not assume responsibility for these items. Any necessary bags or other possessions taken into storage and study areas are subject to examination upon departure. Museum staff may request the removal of potentially damaging jewelry and accessories from a Researcher’s attire before allowing access to storage and study areas. Eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing gum is not permitted in storage and study areas. Researchers may only use pencils in storage and study areas. No ball-point pens, markers, ink pens, or other permanent marking tools are permitted in storage and study areas. Researchers are responsible for supplying their own equipment (e.g. cameras, plastic measuring devices, such as calipers, magnifying loupes, etc.). For measuring objects, the use of cloth tape measures is preferred. Please ask Museum Staff before using metal or plastic measuring devices. Researchers may handle objects only with the permission of Museum staff. Only Museum staff will move objects to and from storage equipment (e.g. shelves, drawers, etc.). For both the safety of the object and the researcher, disposable Nitrile and Latex gloves will be provided, and must be worn when handling objects. Note that collections may have been treated with harmful pesticides in the past or may react with human skin oils. During object handling, tags or labels must never be removed from objects. Cleaning (even superficial), dusting, and/or brushing objects is not permitted without consultation with the Museum’s Conservation Department. Object photography may be undertaken only after a Photography/Illustration Permission Form has been signed and authorized in compliance with Museum restrictions. Note that photography refers to images made in any medium, including but not limited to slides, print photography, video, digital images, etc. Object illustration may be undertaken only after a Photography/Illustration Permission Form has been signed and authorized in compliance with Museum restrictions. Note that illustration refers to images made in any medium, including but not limited to pencil, ink, paint, etc. Object testing (material analysis) and replicating (rubbings, impressions, and casts) falls under the provisions of the Museum’s Scientific Testing Policy (which is available upon request) and proposals for such must be arranged in advance of the research visit. Researchers must submit to the relevant Curatorial Section a complete list of all objects and/or object groups examined during their research visit. Researchers should also submit to the relevant Curatorial Section and/or Registrar’s Office one copy of any paper or publication that results from the work undertaken during the research visit. Submit Your Request For specific requests, please download the Research Access Policy to fill out the Request Form and email it to the relevant Contact Person listed on page. Save this form to your desktop before completing it.  Contact Collections This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca = 'collections' + '@'; addy8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca = addy8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org'; var addy_text8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca = 'collections' + '@' + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org';document.getElementById('cloak8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca').innerHTML += ''+addy_text8efa2a3e7a8a2d22bbcdd74fc5ec11ca+'';


The Penn Cultural Heritage Center is dedicated to expanding both scholarly and public awareness and promoting discussion and debate about the complex issues surrounding the world’s rich—and endangered—cultural heritage. Dr. Richard M. Leventhal, Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Curator, in the American Section at the Penn Museum, and former Williams Director of the Penn Museum, is the founder and Executive Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC). PennCHC draws upon the expertise of the Museum’s curators and researchers, as well as the graduate students and faculty of various academic departments at Penn, and also outside scholars, for its programs. The Penn CHC. The PennCHC projects create opportunities for international and national partnerships and intercultural dialogues. Visit Website Support Penn CHC. Support the Penn Cultural Heritage Center in its mission, projects, and partnerships around the world. Your gifts make a difference. Support PennCHC Now! In a rapidly changing global world, cultural heritage has become an important topic, playing an increasingly critical role in the identity politics of communities, the economic growth of world tourism, and the rules and regulations governing the international antiquities trade. Dr. Richard M. Leventhal The Center’s broad initiatives include: Education and outreach programming for diverse audiences, including law enforcement, customs officers, lawyers, policymakers, and academics involved in cultural property protection and issues—as well as community stakeholders and the general public. The Center has built upon earlier Museum training programs with United States officers to help stop the illicit movement of antiquities. Consultation on national and international policy issues, working with Ministries of Culture and other governmental groups to develop a holistic approach in the management of cultural heritage at local, national, and international levels. The Center is currently consulting with agencies in Mali, Montenegro, and Honduras, with long-range plans to build this capacity. Conferences, with opportunities for in-depth dialog, publication, and, where appropriate, concluding public presentations. Cultural heritage plays an ever more prominent role in the study and interpretation of the past, the ethics and planning of archaeological research, and the role of the museum, now and in the future. Dr. Richard M. Leventhal Other areas of development for the Center include community development and the integration of community involvement in archaeological programs and site protection; museum collaborations on a national and international scale, with a focus on developing best practices related to heritage issues; and the development of an expert network of archaeologists versed in cultural heritage law and ethics issues surrounding cultural heritage. The Penn Cultural Heritage Center is supported by funding from private donors.


The Registrar's Office of the Penn Museum, established in 1929, is the hub for implementing collections policies and procedures through coordinating Museum’s collections activities and services. Staffed with five full-time and a number of part-time members, the Office’s primary responsibilities include: Maintaining object records Coordinating acquisitions Coordinating objects on loan Managing the Museum curated traveling exhibitions Administrating object database and online collections site Providing collections related services (For Information about the Museum’s Object Identification Service, click here.) Object Records The Registrar's Office houses object-specific records, including object catalogue cards, object files, accession lot records, and event-related documentation. Read More: Object Records Acquisitions While majority of the Museum’s collections came from excavations or were acquired during anthropological fieldwork during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the collections continue to grow through exchanges with other cultural institutions, donations from individuals, and occasional purchases. Read More: Acquisitions Objects on Loan The Penn Museum has an active loan program involving institutions all over the world. Read More: Objects on Loan Traveling Exhibitions Penn Museum’s traveling exhibitions and loans programs further the Museum’s mission to advance the understanding of the world’s cultural heritage by sending high-quality exhibitions and objects for display to institutions worldwide. Read More: Traveling Exhibitions Contact: Registrar's Office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloak597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea = 'registrar' + '@'; addy597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea = addy597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org'; var addy_text597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea = 'registrar' + '@' + 'pennmuseum' + '.' + 'org';document.getElementById('cloak597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea').innerHTML += ''+addy_text597cf50d1046962659dedbf7843cf1ea+'';


The Penn Museum's Conservation Department is tasked with the long term preservation and conservation of the Museum's object collections. Working with other Museum staff, our duties include: review, treatment, and setting exhibition parameters for all objects going on exhibition or out on loan setting travel requirements for all objects going on loan or traveling as part of an exhibition working with Collections staff to provide the best possible environment for the long term preservation of collections in storage providing conservation consultation for Museum staff, researchers, students, and the general public Currently, we have three staff conservators, five Project Conservators, one Post-graduate Fellow, one Curriculum Intern and two Conservation Technicians. Additionally, we usually have a number of pre-program interns helping out. The Museum’s Conservation Department was founded in 1966. In September 2014 we moved into newly renovated spaces, custom designed for our program. These include a large treatment lab with area ventilation; a walk-in fume hood; a separate office space; a "clean space" for working on textiles, paper artifacts, matting, and storage mounts; a digital x-ray suite and laser-cleaning station; a dedicated photography area; and a seminar room/library. These wonderful new facilities have greatly facilitated our work and made our Department better able to serve the Museum’s needs in the 21st Century. Conservation Surveys Conservation Projects




The Physical Anthropology Section curates extensive skeletal human and primate collections from all around the world. In total, approximately 10,000 individuals in various states of preservation with both historic and archaeological materials. Collection History The most extensive historic collection is the Samuel Morton collection of over 1500 human crania amassed in the middle of the 19th Century. Two large skeletal collections, both from Iran, form the core of the collection: Tepe Hissar (excavated in 1931 by Erich Schmidt) and Hasanlu (excavated from 1957 to 1977 under the leadership of Robert Dyson). Both collections contain over 250 well preserved skeletons each. In 2002, the Penn Museum began to develop a large CT scan database of the collections funded by the National Science Foundation - PI Thomas Schoenemann and co-PI Janet Monge; award number: 0447271. Over 3000 skeletal elements (mostly crania) have been CT scanned to date. See a short review of the history of the collection See a complete database listing Read about the Morton Skull Collection: Lewis JE, DeGusta D, Meyer MR, Monge JM, Mann AE, et al. (2011) The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. PLoS Biol 9(6): e1001071. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001071


The Oceanian collections of the Penn Museum include over 22,000 objects from all the major island groups of the Pacific (Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia), insular Southeast Asia, and Australia. Except for a very limited number of archaeological specimens, the collections are ethnographic, representing the material culture of the Pacific peoples from the mid-19th century to the present. Collection History The Oceanian collections were assembled through gifts, purchases and Museum-sponsored expeditions. An early assemblage of Polynesian material collected by C.D. Voy, and a large number of objects acquired in Borneo, Sumatra and the Caroline Islands by William H. Furness 3rd, Alfred C. Harrison, Jr., and H.M. Hiller, were among the founding collections of the Museum. In the first two decades of the 20th century, the collections from the Pacific Islands were greatly expanded by purchases from the dealers W.O. Oldman of London and J.F.G. Umlauff of Hamburg. Also acquired in this period were a Sepik River collection purchased from Max Boehmig of Dresden and Philippines materials collected by the sisters Elizabeth and Sarah Metcalf. Since then, the collections have continued to grow, through donations and from Museum expeditions to Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. View Highlights From the Oceanian Section From a Micronesian coconut grater stool to Javanese puppets, the Oceanian Collection is a diverse and colorful assemblage of ethnographic material. View Highlights


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