The Penn Museum, founded in 1887, has a collection of roughly one million objects. These objects are core to our mission of transforming understanding of the human experience through research, exhibitions, and public educational programs. The care and stewardship of objects is in the forefront of our remit. The following links provide details about our role in the development of the 1970 UNESCO Convention, our compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation act, and a Statement on Human Remains in the Penn Museum. 1970 UNESCO Convention NAGPRA Compliance Human Remains Collections Access Find information about accessing the Penn Museum collection as a researcher or request to use the collections as part of your class. Learn More
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
Working hand-in-hand with communities to protect the past and secure the future. By positioning communities in a leading role, the Penn Cultural Heritage Center reframes the preservation of cultural heritage within a context of social, political, and economic development. We demonstrate and disseminate our strategy through field projects, research, engagement in public policy, and public programs that emphasize the centrality of community priorities for successful outcomes. 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. 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: Field Projects The PennCHC leads a number of community-based and collaborative field work projects, including the Tihosuco Maya Caste War Project, Mexico; Wáyk’a Heritage Project, California; and the Marzamemi Underwater Archaeological Project, Sicily, Italy. We also work with heritage professionals from conflict zones to protect heritage at risk through the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project. Research Consisting of researchers from over 17 international organizations and coordinated by the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, the Conflict Culture Research Network examines why, when, and by whom cultural heritage is targeted during conflict. Public Policy The PennCHC connects community-based heritage and development to outreach programming for diverse audiences, including international organizations, law enforcement, policymakers, and academics involved in cultural property protection and issues—as well as community stakeholders and the general public. Outreach and Education The PennCHC hosts an annual public lecture series at the University of Pennsylvania about Cultural Heritage issues. The PennCHC’s faculty regularly teach four courses at the University of Pennsylvania, which make up the core of the Cultural Heritage Management certificate in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. 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 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