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Virtual International Classroom

Bring world cultures, both past and present, directly from international educators and Museum-affiliated archaeologists and anthropologists directly into your home! Virtual International Classroom programs are live, 1-hour sessions and available for groups of all sizes. K-12 teachers, please visit our Interactive Virtual Learning page for programs suited for students.

Archaeology & Anthropology

Grid at an archaeological dig

Helping the Past Speak to Us

by Nick Eiteljorg, Ph.D.
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Adults
Archaeologists find artifacts in groups, not one at a time, using the whole of what is found to learn about the past. This workshop guides participants through a discussion of archaeological method, using three excavations as examples: one, the body of the speaker following his fictitious murder and the 300-years-after-the-fact recovery; two, the excavation of a cemetery in the Etruscan town that is now Orvieto, Italy; and three, the speaker’s excavation of the older, less monumental entrance to the Athenian Acropolis predating the grand Propylaea, which is still standing. Participants learn that the important information is the sum of what the artifacts can say when applied to the questions at hand. This talk includes a discussion of single artifacts found out of context and what is lost along with that context.

An entrance to a building at Petra, Jordan

Is Archaeology Really Like Indiana Jones?

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
Petra, “The Rose-Red City Half as Old as Time,” is nestled in a mountainous basin in a remote, rugged corner of Jordan. As one of the “New Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” Petra is famous for its more than 800 rock-cut tombs and monuments, including a Roman theater capable of seating as many as 8,500 people. Archaeological investigations at Petra continue to the present day — this presentation gives students exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to Dr. Phillips’ own work on an actual dig at the site, the Temple of the Winged Lions. Learn on-site excavation techniques, experience life on a dig in a distant land, and discover whether archaeology is really like it is in the movies.

The Great Pyramids at Giza

CSI: Ancient Egypt

Introduction to Forensic Anthropology

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
To learn more about the physical aspects of humankind, both past and present, anthropologists developed methods and techniques to evaluate human skeletal remains—techniques that apply in modern forensic (criminal) investigations as well as in archaeological contexts. Using human remains from Dr. Phillips’ own excavation work in Egypt, this lecture introduces the audience to those scientific methods and techniques by analyzing images of actual ancient Egyptians, some as old as the pyramids themselves. Students will learn, in non-technical terms, the basic steps in determining a female from a male, younger from older, and other information that the bones can tell us about the person. A highlight of the lecture is a re-examination of a possible 3,300-year-old royal murder case—using modern forensics!

Close up of the shroud of Lady Dai

Mummies

Through Time, Across Continents

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
When we think of mummies, ancient Egypt is often the first thing that comes to mind; we envision reanimated monsters coming back to life to walk the earth once again. This lecture explores the worldwide phenomenon of preserved human remains in a 5,000-year journey. There exists an amazing array of preserved human remains, some created deliberately, some naturally. We explore the presence of human mummies chronologically, as found on virtually all continents, spanning virtually all time periods. Enhanced by haunting images of preserved human remains, this presentation takes students on a journey of discovery that reveals just how widespread the existence of mummies actually is throughout a diverse collection of cultures around the world, all the way up to modern times.


Asia

A view of Singapore's skyline

Stories from the Tamil Diaspora

by Praveen Vijayakumar
What does it look like when worlds collide and create new communities? “Stories from the Tamil Diaspora” traces a Singaporean Tamil family’s history back to Tamil Nadu, India, in the early 20th century. The presenter shares experiences of British colonialism, Tamil performing arts practices, and Singapore’s transition from colony to an independent, multicultural, and global nation. Students will gain intimate insight into Singaporean culture, much of which is reflected in its cuisines. Through storytelling, participants are invited to personally engage with global cultures, reimagine past histories, and discuss positive futures.

A woman performing a dance

Sattriya

A Classical Dance Tradition

by Madhusmita Bora
In this workshop, a performer of the Sattriya Dance Company takes you on a journey through a 600-year-old dance tradition. Until recently, this dance was only preserved, nourished, and practiced by monks on a little island in northeast India. Students are exposed to stories from Hindu mythology through the dance and also learn about the monks and their lives. Along the way, students are led in movement exercises and learn some vocabulary of this ancient Indian tradition.


Egypt

A decorated Egyptian sarcophagus

I Want My Mummy!

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
When we think of ancient Egypt’s mummies, we commonly associate them with books and movies that portray them as reanimated, vengeful monsters returning from death to wreak havoc upon the living. Where did such notions come from, and why? This workshop addresses that question by engaging students in a close examination into the at least 500-year history that led to why ancient Egypt’s mummies hold such a special fascination in our own culture. Unpublished images of actual ancient Egyptian mummies, including royal mummies such as Ramses II as well as human remains recovered as part of Dr. Phillips’ own excavations in Egypt, are used to illustrate how and why the Egyptians mummified their dead (including their pets!). This presentation is one of the Penn Museum’s most highly requested programs for middle schools and above.

Dried botanical remains from a tomb

Pharaoh’s Flowers

Botanical Treasures from the Tomb of Tutankhamun

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
When we think of ancient Egypt, evocative images come to mind: the Nile River, the Pyramids, the Sphinx and, almost certainly, King Tutankhamun and his fabulous tomb. When we think of King Tut, equally evocative images come to mind, images of gold, jewels and of stunning artifacts from Egypt’s distant past. King Tut’s enigmatic golden death mask has held audiences spellbound for some eighty years, however, many people are not aware of the abundant flowers and other plant remains that were included in his tomb for his journey into the next world.

This richly illustrated lecture recounts the events that led up to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, next, we explore the botanical remains it held, literally the “Pharaoh’s Flowers.” We will see that like ourselves, the ancient Egyptians cherished the beauty of flowers and plants in this life, as well as in their afterlife. This is a detective story on two levels – one, how King Tut’s tomb was found, and two, could the flowers and plants in his tomb be clues in solving the puzzle of what caused the mysterious death of Tutankhamun?

Several sail boats sailing up the Nile

500 Miles Up the Nile

A Journey to Modern Ancient

by Stephen Phillips, Ph.D.
This photographic essay takes students along with Dr. Phillips and a tour group of intrepid friends on their extraordinary 14-day journey up the timeless Nile River. In post-revolution Egypt, they journey from Old Cairo and the Great Pyramids to Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and onward to the mighty Temples of Philae and Abu Simbel. This presentation takes students on a virtual tour not only to experience first-hand the rich diversity of modern ancient Egypt, but also to reveal that not everything we read in newspapers, or see on TV, reflects the reality of life in a distant land.


Middle East

Yaroub Al-Obaidi giving a tour

Rebuilding New Life

Photo Memories from Iraq

by Yaroub Al-Obaidi
If you could choose only 10 items to fit in your backpack while leaving home for a new country, what would you bring? What would you leave behind? Will you choose based on your personal values or on necessity for survival? In this session, designer Yaroub Al-Obaidi, shares his long journey traveling from Iraq, through Syria, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and finally to Philadelphia. He “visits” each point of his journey with a set of items that he packed for his departure to a new land. Describing the memories, challenges, and hopes he had at each transition, Yaroub explains the context of global conflicts and refugee issues, while highlighting what life is like for refugees in different parts of the world. Dialogues prompted by Yaroub’s vivid photographs encourage students to think about the complex issues of international affairs in a very personal way. Recommended Materials: Blank Paper, pen/pencil/colored writing utensils.


How does the virtual program technology work?

The Penn Museum uses the BlueJeans Network as our virtual program software. This allows us to connect with most internet-supported hardware such as laptop and desktop computers, mobile devices, or even video conferencing systems (H.323).

Don’t worry—we make it easy for you and your group to use! Once your program has been scheduled, we will share the video conference link which is the link that everyone will use to join on the program date and time. Depending on the program and group size, participants may use their video and microphone, or the group may be muted during the program. A 15-minute test call is included in the cost of your program and will be scheduled with our tech staff prior to the event to ensure that everyone is able to connect easily.

Booking and Pricing

Click here to begin scheduling your Virtual International Classroom Program with the Penn Museum. You will be contacted by our Group Sales Manager directly after your virtual request is submitted to discuss program details and to schedule a Test Call. Each 15-minute test call is scheduled one week prior to the program and is conducted to determine the integrity of the connection between the Penn Museum and participants.

Pricing: $300.00 per 1 hour program

Virtual Tours and Workshops

Live Programs

Not able to make it into the Penn Museum? Join us for a tour or workshop virtually! Whether you are looking to explore the collection, drink along with our Ancient Alcohol tour and beer tasting, or schedule a virtual game night with friends, there are plenty of virtual options for you at the Penn Museum. K–12 teachers, please visit our Interactive Virtual Learning page for programs suited for students.

Book Your Virtual Visit

Book Your Tour

Friends and Family Programs

Basalt as seen under the microscope

Special Exhibition Group Tour

Invisible Beauty: The Art of Archaeological Science

When people imagine archaeologists, they often picture someone working in the field, but new discoveries are constantly happening in the laboratory. Using instruments to reveal the microscopic and hidden world, archaeologists and anthropologists are able to answer questions related to technology, use, trade, diet, health, and the environment.

Join us as we go under the microscope and bring this often-overlooked vantage point to life! Penn Ph.D. Candidate in Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, Janelle Sadarananda, will uncover how these large format images of archaeological materials illuminate the astoundingly beautiful world around us, evoking a sense of wonder at multiple scales.

This special exhibition is on view through June 6, 2021.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per group of 30 people

Ancient Alcohol After Hours: Tour and Beer Tasting

Ancient Alcohol After Hours

Tour and Beer Tasting

Drinking together has been a tradition for thousands of years, and we have found a way to keep that tradition alive! Grab your favorite beverage, log on, and let us be your designated driver as you virtually explore how our ancestors partied like it was 5000 BCE. Participants will follow along as we check out one of the most popular ancient Greek drinking games (you should definitely try this at home), zoom in on one of the world’s oldest wine jars, learn about a Mesopotamian queen who drank her beer out of a straw, and learn all about the science that went into recreating the beverage served at the funerary feast hosted by King Midas. All the while you will be encouraged to participate in fun and interactive games that test your knowledge and invite you to share some of your most memorable drinking stories. Presented in partnership with Philly Loves Beer, this tour and beer tasting will be led by a mix of both history and beer experts.

This program includes an optional beer tasting component, which will be presented by Philly Loves Beer. Group members will be provided information about what types of beers to purchase, and you can drink along with us!

Program Length: 1.5–2 hours

Pricing: Please contact Group Sales

Ancient Alcohol After Hours: Tour and Wine Pairing

Ancient Alcohol After Hours

Tour and Wine Pairing

Uncover 9,000 years of wine culture around the globe in this virtual tour of ancient winemaking. Explore the role of wine in the human story from agriculture and trade to social life and religion. Learn how wine is fermented from palm tree sap—a method still enjoyed by many cultures today—and see what happens when you add resin, fruit, or even cheese to your glass! You’ll hear from archaeological scientists about ancient plant remains and grape DNA, and tour guide Janelle Sadarananda will answer your history and wine related questions along the way.

Drinking together has been a tradition for thousands of years. Log on, pour yourself a glass, and let us be your designated driver as you party with our ancestors like it’s 7000 BCE!

This program includes an optional wine pairing. Group members will be provided information about the types of wine to purchase.

Program Length: 1.5–2 hours

Pricing: Please contact Group Sales

The Sphinx of Rameses

Game Night

Venture to Egypt

Challenge your friends to a competition in this interactive collection tour designed to test your knowledge of history and problem-solving skills. See world wonders up close, and interact with others through fun chats, polls, and quizzes. A few lucky participants might even walk away with prizes! Game Night themes include Venture to Egypt or Around the World.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per group of 30 people

Monsters, Myths and Legends

Monsters, Myths, and Legends

Where in the world do monsters hide, with demons and guardians lurking inside? With amulet in hand, come hunt creatures––small and grand. Curious about the origins of legendary creatures like vampires and werewolves? How would you protect yourself against snake-haired or intestine-faced demons? On this virtual storytelling adventure, staying close to the Narrator is strongly advised. Unlock the origins of what makes a monster and discover the tools you’ll need to face off some special guests that go bump in the night.

Program Length: 1.5 hours

Pricing: Please contact Group Sales

Queens, Warriors, and Archaeologists: Women of the Penn Museum

Queens, Warriors, and Archaeologists

Women of the Penn Museum

Women are often invisible in our accounts of the past, overshadowed by more famous men. This virtual program explores ways to find women through archaeology and anthropology, tracing stories of famous and not-so-famous women in the Penn Museum, as well as tales of adventurous female archaeologists who have excavated ancient sites and translated undeciphered scripts. Join us as we illustrate how different societies think of womanhood and gender, and see how women are represented and self-represent across time and space.

Program Length: 1-1.5 hours

Pricing: $200 per group of 30 people

Map of the world with objects and their locations

Interactive Virtual Gallery Tours

You control the journey by voting on activities with your fellow explorers. Tour through Egypt without breaking a sweat, or journey through Mesopotamian cities without aching feet. These virtual tours are highly interactive, with built-in polls and quizzes to keep you guessing till the very end. This program is great for families of all ages!

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per group of 30 people

Virtual Destinations Include

Explore the World!
Join the crew for a digital journey around the world. Discover amazing artifacts left behind by great queens and kings. Move from the trade routes of the Silk Road to the pueblos of North America. Your fellow teammates will help you pass some challenges along the way!
Destination Egypt!
Join the crew for a digital journey to Egypt. Examine art of the pharaohs to decipher their ancient codes of communication. Discover what mummies don’t take with them to the afterlife, and follow along an ancient story that explains why mummies are wrapped. Your fellow voyagers will help you explore along the way!
Destination Africa!
Join the crew for a digital journey around the continent of Africa. Explore a kingdom so rich they used gold dust for money, and discover the central role African civilizations have always played in world history. Your fellow voyagers will help you explore along the way!
Destination North America!
Join the crew for a digital journey around the continent of North America! See some of the oldest artifacts made by first inhabitants of the Americas. Hear stories passed down from hundreds of generations of Native Americans about the nature of our world. You and your fellow voyagers will encounter artifacts from many different Native American tribes.
Destination Mexico and Central America!
Join the crew for a digital journey around Mexico and Central America! Visit some of the amazing cities that filled this area before European contact. You and your fellow voyagers will decode ancient writing together. See the legacy of incredible civilizations, including the Aztec and Maya today.
Destination China!
Join the crew for a digital journey to ancient China! See some of the most ancient writings of early emperors, and decipher their meaning. Uncover the legacy of Silk Road merchants and traders. Discover a history encapsulated in beautiful artwork and inspiring monuments. Your fellow voyagers will help you explore along the way!
A Global Guide leading a tour

Virtual Global Guide Tours

What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Through the Global Guides Program, the Museum offers virtual tours led by Philadelphians who grew up in countries around the world. In addition to sharing historical information about the artifacts on display, the guides combine personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin.

Your tour options include

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $300 per group of 30 people

Lifelong Learners and University Class Programs

Ram in the Thicket

Live with a Graduate Guide

Take a live tour the Penn Museum directly from your home or classroom! Graduate Guides with PhDs or master’s degrees in archeology and anthropology, are available to lead

These programs are now available for the Africa Galleries, Mexico and Central America Gallery, Middle East Galleries, Greek Gallery, Rome and Etruscan Italy Galleries, and Mediterranean Galleries. Learn more.

Program Length: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Pricing: $75 – $200 per 30 participants

Interactive Workshops

Mesopotamian archaeological excavation

Mesopotamia

Journey to the City

Vividly explore the ‘cradle of civilization’ through artifacts from the earliest settlements, temples, and royal tombs. Learn how ancient Mesopotamian societal practices gave rise to the world’s first cities through investigation of Penn’s archaeological digs. Investigate some of Mesopotamia’s innovations: writing, law code, and professionalization of labor. Through interactive conversations, participants will discover how these ancient cities, in many ways, were not very different from their own.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per 30 participants

Papyrus with hieroglyphs and illustrations

Mummy Makers

Ever wonder how and why the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead? See how ancient Egyptian embalmed and prepared mummies for their journey to the afterlife! Using interactive demonstrations, participants will explore mummification through each step of the process, including brain removal, evisceration, desiccation, and wrapping. This workshop uses realistic mummies as props.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per 30 participants

Model of an ancient Roman house

Daily Life in Ancient Rome

Embark on a virtual tour of a lavish Roman home to learn how to speak and write the real Latin terms for each room. Participants will look closely at classical artifacts that would have been used inside the house to better understand the day-to-day lives of ancient Romans.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per 30 participants

Conservator working with an object

Preserving the Past

What role does a conservator play in preserving the past? Learn how we care for our ancient artifacts as you investigate the science behind deterioration and preservation by practicing the basics of conservation, viewing examples of conservation in the Museum’s collection, and discovering the incredible work of Penn Museum conservators.

Program Length: 1 hour

Pricing: $200 per 30 participants


How does the virtual program technology work?

The Penn Museum uses the BlueJeans Network as our virtual program software. This allows us to connect with most internet-supported hardware such as laptop and desktop computers, mobile devices, or even video conferencing systems (H.323).

Don’t worry—we make it easy for you and your group to use! Once your program has been scheduled, we will share the video conference link which is the link that everyone will use to join on the program date and time. Depending on the program and group size, participants may use their video and microphone, or the group may be muted during the program. A 15-minute test call is included in the cost of your program and will be scheduled with our tech staff prior to the event to ensure that everyone is able to connect easily.

Booking and Pricing

Click here to begin scheduling your Virtual Tour or Workshop with the Penn Museum. You will be contacted by our Group Sales Manager directly after your virtual request is submitted to discuss program details and to schedule a Test Call. Each 15-minute test call is scheduled one week prior to the program and is conducted to determine the integrity of the connection between the Penn Museum and participants.

Global Guides

What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Through the Global Guides Program, the Museum offers gallery tours led by Philadelphians who grew up in countries around the world. In addition to sharing historical information about the artifacts on display, the guides combine personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin.

Global Guides will present tours and enrichment programs for the following galleries

  • Middle East Galleries
  • Africa Galleries
  • Mexico and Central America Gallery

Virtual Global Guide Tours

While onsite tours are temporarily paused for everyone’s safety, you can still virtually explore the galleries with a Global Guide! Choose from two options

Public Virtual Tours
All are welcome to join these free on Fridays at 2:30pm. Register through our Events Calendar.
Private Group Virtual Tours
For groups of 10 or more looking for an exclusive experience, discounted rates are available. Tours are led in English, but also available in the Global Guides' native languages: Middle East Galleries tours in Arabic, Africa Galleries tours in French, Lingala, or Swahili, and Mexico & Central America Gallery in Spanish. To schedule a virtual tour (allow at least two weeks advance notice), contact Amanda Grady, Group Sales Manager, at 215.746.8183 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Want a sneak peek of our Global Guide tours? In these short Digital Daily Dig videos, a Guide shares the history and significance of one artifact at the Museum.


The Global Guides Program has been internationally recognized through presentations at numerous museum conferences, including the American Alliance of Museums, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, and the American Association of State and Local History. Additionally, articles about this program have been features in Museum magazine, Hyperallergic, and by the Associated Press in dozens of publications around the world.

To learn more about the guides please contact Kevin Schott (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Funding Recognition

The Global Guides: Immigrant Stories Tour Program was made possible by the generosity of the Barra Foundation.

barra foundation logo


Adult Outreach Speakers

Schedule a Penn Museum speaker to travel on-site to your location for a presentation or beam in for a virtual visit! K-12 teachers, please visit our website for student outreach programs. Please contact Group Sales for pricing and availability.

World Culture Educators

Rebuilding New Life
Photo Memories from Iraq
If you had to choose only 10 items you can fit in your backpack to leave home for a new country, what would you bring? What do you choose to leave? Will you make a choice based on your personal values or based on necessity for survival? In this session, Yaroub Al-Obaidi, a designer, shares his long journey traveling from Iraq, through Syria, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and finally to Philadelphia. He will “visit” each point of his journey with a set of artifacts ---- items that he packed for his departure to a new land. Describing the memories, challenges and hopes he had at each transition, Yaroub explains the contexts of global conflicts and refugee issues, and highlight what life is like for refugees in different parts of the world. Dialogues prompted by Yaroub’s vivid photographs encourage students to think about the complex issues of international affairs in a very personal way.
Kangas
Message Carriers of East Africa
A kanga is a traditional garment in East African culture. This printed cotton fabric is designed with bright colors and inspirational messages in Swahili. The kanga serves many functions and communicates messages through riddles and proverbs. Ladies traditionally will wrap a kanga in their own fashion, while gentlemen will offer kangas as gifts. A Kenyan instructor teaches you about the history of kangas, their cultural meanings, their functions and basic Swahili greetings. Groups are then invited to create individual kangas using paper collage that feature their own messages and African symbols.
Celebrate the Year 4717
Chinese New Year Rituals
Chinese New Year is a time of exploding firecrackers and leaping dragon dancers. This workshop takes a closer look at rituals and customs associated with Chinese New Year celebrations and explores the historical origins of these activities. Groups will gain an understanding of these rituals, along with their cultural and social significance.
Chinese Characters
A Journey Across Time
What is a Chinese character? Where do Chinese characters come from? How hard is to write a Chinese character? This workshop will examine the developmental history of Chinese characters, a journey of many thousand years. By looking at the transformation of these characters over time and many historical factors behind such changes, you will gain a better understanding not only about Chinese characters but of Chinese history and culture, as well. Individuals can also practice writing Chinese characters during the workshop!
Eastern Woodlands Culture
Daily Life and Stories, Pre- and Post-Contact
What it was like to be a Native American before and after European contact? During this program, an educator with Lenape ancestry will use artifacts and storytelling to explain the history and traditions of different Native American cultures. Storytelling was an important aspect of the Native culture, and remains just as important to many Nations today. These stories appeal to different age levels and are complemented by artifacts that students may touch. These artifacts have been acquired or made by the educator herself, and help demonstrate the different roles each gender and age group play in daily village life.
Let's Play Capoeira!
Merging Afro-Brazilian Cultures in a Fight for Freedom
Capoeira is a martial art disguised as a dance, with its own acrobatics, songs, and music. Afro-Brazilian slaves, who weren’t allowed to defend themselves, created Capoeira in the 16th century. They would pretend to be dancing and celebrating, but in fact were preparing a means to escape and form communities in the Brazilian forests called ‘Quilombos.’ In 2014, UNESCO listed the Capoeira “roda” (or circle, inside which Capoeira is played in pairs) as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. In this workshop, groups will learn about the origins and evolution of Capoeira as part of Brazil’s socio-cultural history, discover the musical instruments, rhythms, and songs specific to Capoeira, and learn some basic Capoeira moves so that they can participate in their first “roda” by the end of the workshop.

Archaeology and Anthropology Experts

Can You Dig It?
Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
Every year, Egyptian archeologists brush away sand and discover unknown pharaoh’s tombs or ancient hidden cities. Ever wonder what an archeologist actually does? How do she decide where to dig? Egyptian archaeologist Shelby Justl shows students a typical day in the field, reveals recent incredible discoveries, and introduces them to experimental archaeology—a method of understanding and recreating the past by attempting these practices from ancient records (such as mummifying animals, firing pottery, building houses, mixing medical poultices and perfumes, and baking bread).
Women and Archaeology
When archaeological research began in the early 20th century, there were only a handful of female practitioners in the field; women now make up roughly half of the archaeologists in the United States. While women are generally accepted in the field, female archaeologists still encounter many professional issues. Meet a female archaeologist and learn what challenges and opportunities women face in the field, from the classroom to the dig site. Hear about the real-life experiences of an archaeologist working in the mountains of Greece or the deserts of Egypt!
Is Archaeology Really Like Indiana Jones?
Petra, "The Rose-Red City Half as Old as Time,” is nestled in a mountainous basin in a remote, rugged corner of Jordan. Recently named one of the New Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Petra is famous for its rock-cut tombs and monuments, including a Roman theater capable of seating as many as 8,500 people. Petra served for a time as one of the major trading centers of the ancient world. It also served as a backdrop for scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After a series of earthquakes in about 400 AD, Petra lay essentially abandoned; it was not rediscovered until 1812. Archaeological investigations at Petra continue to the present day. This presentation takes you behind the scenes on an actual dig at the site, where they learn archaeology techniques, and whether or not archaeology is really like Indiana Jones.
Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict
There are growing international concerns about the threats modern society poses to Egyptian cultural heritage. Current archaeological digs lie next to modern villages with residents walking through them and wildly spread rumors of treasure leading to illegal digging and black-market artifact sales. This workshop explores the effects of modern people on Penn’s archaeological site in Abydos. Participants will engage in a broader discussion of cultural heritage preservation through examination of political events such as Arab Spring, which affected Egyptian museums and archaeological sites. In the end, people can debate important questions such as, “Should objects remain in their country of origin in times of conflict?,” “Do you think statues, jewelry, and mummies should be transported to museums worldwide to reach a broader audience or should they remain in Egypt as their cultural property?”
CSI
Ancient Egypt, Forensic Anthropology 101
In an effort to learn more about the physical aspects of humankind, both past and present, anthropologists developed methods and techniques to evaluate human skeletal remains, techniques that apply in modern forensic (criminal) investigations. Using human remains from Dr. Phillips’ own research, this program introduces the audience to those scientific methods and techniques through digital images of actual human bones from ancient Egypt, some as old as the pyramids themselves. Participants learn, in non-technical terms, the basic steps in determining a female from a male, younger skeletons from older ones, and other information that bones can tell us about a person. A highlight of this talk is a re-examination of a possible 3,300 year-old royal murder case using modern forensics.
Exploring the Classical World through Artifacts
How do we know what we know about the ancient Greek and Roman worlds? What types of evidence do we have to answer our many questions about these civilizations, which are often considered the foundations of Western culture? Archaeology and the study of objects allow us to move beyond the reading of history as a body of facts to actively inquiring about the past. Using examples from two current excavations in Greece, students explore some of the exciting methods of archaeological and historical analysis, ranging from the examination of ancient texts to ultra-scientific studies of objects and even soils. Groups then have the opportunity to interact with objects and formulate their own questions about objects and the ancient world.
Gifts of the Greek Gods
Religion dominated many aspects of life in ancient Greece. The ancient texts and sacred rituals related to ancient Greek religion were often kept secret, so we rely on the objects that remain from these gifts and sacrifices to tell the story. The number and range of ritual artifacts found through excavations of sanctuaries reveals that people of all ages, genders, classes, and geographical locations gave gifts to the gods. These included the bones from thousands of sacrificed animals and votive dedications, ranging from small and inexpensive ceramic objects to elaborate ivory sculptures covered in gold. Why did the ancient Greeks spend so much time, money, and resources on these gifts, and what was the meaning behind such sacrifice? After exploring how, why, and what gifts were given to the gods, students create their own votive dedications that express their personal identity, individual style, and desired outcome.
I Want My Mummy!
Provide your group with an introduction to the history behind ancient Egyptian mortuary practices, both how the mummification process developed through time and how mummies were actually made. Participants also closely examine the history behind why ancient Egypt’s mummies hold such a fascination in popular Western culture. Unpublished images of actual ancient Egyptian mummies, some collected as part of Dr. Stephen Phillip’s own archaeological excavations in Egypt, are used to illustrate this talk.
Sweet Home Egypt
Ancient Egyptians Cities and Daily Life
Travel back in time to 1500 BCE to see ancient Egypt beyond the pyramids and mummies with Egyptologist Shelby Justl. Explore ancient Egyptian settlements and daily life, including the glamorous palaces of pharaohs, the elaborate villas of private officials, and the simple dwellings of workmen. Groups will learn about the ancient Egyptians’ childhood, family life, occupations, leisure activities, clothing, and diet. Sweet Home Egypt also shares how ancient Egyptians handled challenges like illness, grief, theft, lazy co-workers, and bad bosses.

Cultural Performers

Dance in Egypt as a Celebration of Daily Life
The traditional dances of Egypt provide a record in movement of a vanishing way of life. They reflect aspects of village life such as water gathering, ritual combat, and the celebration of weddings. These dances symbolize a continuity of traditions in different Egyptian ethnic groups: the Fellahin, Bedouin, and Nubian peoples. Through discussion, demonstration, and by encouraging audience participation, Habiba explains the dances and movement styles of these three Egyptian groups and reveals something of the character and the essence of these peoples.
Habiba
History and Mystery of Belly Dance
“Raks sharqi” is the Arabic name for the solo interpretive dance that we call belly dance. It is one of the oldest documented dance forms and can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It has a long history as a dance done by professional entertainers, but also as a social dance that both men and women learn as soon as they are old enough to stand. Here, dance and music are inseparable from daily life, and are a vital part of weddings, feast days, and family gatherings. Habiba presents the history of the dance from ancient times to the present and demonstrates its impact on the western perception of the Middle East. She explains how the modern belly dance performance came into being and how to appreciate a belly dance performance like an Egyptian would. Habiba then performs and invites the audience to practice some moves themselves.
Sattryia
Classic Dance from Hindu Monasteries
In this workshop, Madhusmita Bora, a performer of the Sattriya Dance Company, takes you on a journey through a 600-year-old dance tradition. This dance was only preserved, nourished, and practiced by monks in a little island in Northeast India until recently. You will be exposed to stories from Hindu mythology through the dance, and will also learn about the monks and their lives. There will be masks, costumes and props on display. Along the way, you will be led in movement exercises and will learn related vocabulary of this ancient Indian tradition. Groups of less than 120 people will receive a talk and dance demonstration without the formal performing costume. Groups of 120 people and more will watch a live dance performance with the dancers in formal performing costume.

Performing Arts Around the World

Immerse your group in diverse cultural expressions. Local performing artists introduce cultural rituals, traditions and stories from around the world. These workshops utilize a range of arts to educate participants about vibrant cultural traditions.

Sattriya
Classic Dance from Hindu Monasteries
In this workshop, Madhusmita Bora, a performer of the Sattriya Dance Company, takes you on a journey through a 600-year-old dance tradition. This dance was only preserved, nourished, and practiced by monks in a little island in Northeast India until recently. Your group will be exposed to stories from Hindu mythology through the dance, and will also learn about the monks and their lives. There will be masks, costumes, and props on display. Along the way, you will be led in movement exercises and will learn some vocabulary of this ancient Indian tradition. A group of less than 120 people receive a talk and dance demonstration without the formal performing costume. A group of more than 120 people can include a live dance performance with the formal performing costume.
Dance in Egypt as a Celebration of Daily Life
The traditional dances of Egypt provide a record in movement of a vanishing way of life. They reflect aspects of village life such as water gathering, ritual combat, and the celebration of weddings. These dances symbolize a continuity of traditions in different Egyptian ethnic groups: The Fellahin, Bedouin, and Nubian peoples. Through discussion, demonstration and by encouraging audience participation, Habiba will explain the dances and movement styles of these three Egyptian groups and reveal something of the character and the essence of these peoples.
Habiba
History and Mystery of Belly Dance
Raks sharqi is the Arabic name for the solo interpretive dance that we call belly dance. It is one of the oldest documented dance forms and can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It has a long history as a dance done by professional entertainers, but also as a social dance that both men and women learn as soon as they are old enough to stand. Here, dance and music are inseparable from daily life, and are a vital part of weddings, feast days, and family gatherings. Habiba presents the history of the dance from ancient times to the present and demonstrates its impact on the western perception of the Middle East. Habiba will explain how the modern belly dance performance came into being and how to appreciate a belly dance performance like an Egyptian would. Habiba then performs and invites the audience to practice some moves themselves.

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