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Group Tours

Unlock the wonder and mystery of the human story through a one-hour guided tour of the Penn Museum. Tours can accommodate up to 30 people per tour guide and are currently available in English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, Hebrew, Swahili, and Arabic (subject to guide availability).

Guide Options

Choose a tour guide who best suits your group’s interests.

Museum Docent
Led by highly trained museum volunteer tour guide.
Graduate Guide
Led by a Penn Ph.D. candidate or graduate student actively working in the archaeological field.
Global Guide
Led by Philadelphians who grew up in countries around the world. Global Guides share historical information about the artifacts on display combined with personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin. Available for the Africa Galleries, Mexico and Central America Gallery, and Middle East Galleries only.
Penn Ph.D. or Curator
Led by archaeologists, Museum Curators, and other Penn Ph.D.s. These world renowned scholars possess the highest level of knowledge and expertise.

Group Rates

Available Guided Tours

african stone carving

Africa Galleries Tour

Ashanti gold beads. Elaborate Kuba textiles. Intricately carved ivories of the Benin kingdom. Dramatic Sherbro masks from Sierra Leone. The Penn Museum’s African collection is among the largest in the United States. The new Africa Galleries feature this spectacular collection in spaces renovated and redesigned for all audiences to enjoy. New interpretive displays engage all visitors, from children to adults and novices to experts. Objects trace stories across centuries of Africa’s great kingdoms and diverse cultures. The galleries challenge antiquated views of the “dark continent” and create new narratives by presenting Africa’s many unique cultures and continental and international connections.

Galleries Included: Africa Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Global Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

ancient depiction of winemaking

Ancient Alcohol

A Taste of Bygone Booze and Beer Tasting

Let us be your designated driver as you explore how our ancestors partied like it was 5000 BCE! View early drinking vessels that reveal secrets of ancient Greek drinking games and the beverage served at a feast hosted by King Midas. Get up close to one of the world’s oldest wine jars, a queen’s golden beer straw, and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs that depict alcohol rations for the afterlife. Plunge into studies by a Penn Museum biomolecular archaeologist who collected samples of fermented beverages from ancient vessels and brought some of these potent “time capsules” back to life using chemical analysis. And at the tour’s end, sit down in the Museum Café with your own taste-test of Flying Fish Exit 3 Blueberry Braggot—a beer that tastes very similar to an ancient recipe discovered by a Penn biomolecular archaeologist!

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Middle East Galleries, Asia Galleries, Egypt Galleries, Rome Gallery, Greece Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1.5 hours

ancient egyptian art

Ancient Egypt

From Discovery to Display – Special Exhibition

Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display provides you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk in the shoes of an archaeologist. Peel back the curtain and get a behind-the-scenes view of the journey artifacts take on their way to museum display, from excavation to conservation, storage, and research. More than 200 fascinating objects, many of which have never been on view before, are included throughout the three-part, 6,000-square-foot exhibition. Eventually, these objects will become a part of the re-envisioned Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries, a much-anticipated cornerstone of the Museum’s Building Transformation project.

Galleries Included: Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display, Egypt Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

crystal sphere

Asia Galleries Tour

An architectural marvel in its own right, the majestic Chinese Rotunda houses one of the finest collections of monumental Chinese art in the country. The large-scale artifacts on view are a testament to the artistic achievements of the Chinese people, particularly in early Buddhist sculpture, and the continuity of artistic evolution during the early, pre-Song periods (before 1000 CE). Gallery highlights include two Imperial Horse Reliefs, one of the world’s largest Crystal Spheres, and a collection of Northern Qi Buddhist Statuary.

Galleries Included: Asia Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

A rendering of what the new Eastern Mediterranean Gallery will look like when completed.

Eastern Mediterranean Gallery Tour

Opening Fall 2022

When unveiled in Fall 2022, the re-imagined Eastern Mediterranean Gallery will highlight the Penn Museum’s excavated collections, properly placing them in their historical context and offering a look at how ongoing research into the area’s rich, complex history provides new evidence that transforms what we think we know. The Eastern Mediterranean, comprised of what is known today as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, and Cyprus, is a hub of creativity and one of the great crossroads in history, where diverse people and cultures have connected through trade, migration, religion, and empire in a space of co-existence and conflict.

Galleries Included: Eastern Mediterranean Gallery

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1 hour

sarcophagus

Egypt Galleries Tour

Get up close and personal with the seated statue of Ramesses II from the temple of Harsaphes and discover the untold story behind why this disproportionately small head sits atop such a large base! These magnificent works of art are a testament to the superb craftsmanship of artists and sculptors throughout Ancient Egypt’s long history. Uncover how ancient Egyptians used mummification to preserve their legacies and achieve an eternal goal, explore the mythological origins of mummification, and examine mummified humans and animals that are thousands of years old. Please note this tour involves viewing ancient human remains.

Galleries Included: Egypt Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

A carving of two people seated at a table and eating found on a cylinder seal.

Food and Identity

“We Are What We Eat” Tour

What is the real meaning of the phrase “we are what we eat? Who is the “we” in this statement, what is eaten, and how was this food made? Join us for our Global Food Tour at the Penn Museum, a 75-minute tour that incites all the senses and attempts to answer these questions. The tour will highlight objects from across Museum galleries and explore food and food production, economics, religion and spirituality, class, gender, and community. Learning about food culture helps us understand our identities in the past, present, and future. Join us to discover how!

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Middle East Galleries, Native American Voices Gallery, Africa Galleries, Asia Galleries, Egypt Galleries, Greece Gallery

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1.5 hours

ancient greek vase

Greece Gallery Tour

Ancient Greek society is illuminated through 400+ objects, including exquisite painted vases with depictions of ancient gods and myths, bronze armor, marble sculptures, and coinage. The Greeks were preeminent merchants and their pottery represents the best archaeological evidence of the breadth of their trade and influence in the Mediterranean world. Highlights of the gallery include Attic pottery vessels, marble and bronze sculptures, gold and silver coins, and architectural fragments.

Galleries Included: Greece Gallery

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

ancient artifact from mesoamerica

Mexico & Central America Gallery Tour

Stone monuments from Belize depicting powerful kings. Glimmering gold pendants from Costa Rica. Colorful textiles from Guatemala. The Penn Museum’s spectacular collection of art and artifacts from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica spanning 3,000 years are showcased in a new gallery that celebrates craftsmanship and culture. The Mexico and Central America Gallery explores the Museum’s long history of archaeological excavations in the region—uncovering temples, tombs, royal residences, and more—and its groundbreaking discoveries in deciphering hieroglyphics.

Galleries Included: Mexico & Central America Gallery

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Global Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

bull head lyre fragment

Middle East Galleries Tour

The 4,500-year-old crowning jewelry of a Mesopotamian queen. One of the world’s oldest wine vessels. A baby’s rattle. A school child’s first writing primer. A workman’s tool. An ancient spreadsheet. Through these fascinating objects and over 1,200 more, the Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries take you on a journey, exploring how ancient Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world’s first cities—cities not so different from our own.

Galleries Included: Middle East Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Global Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

stone cat statue

Monsters, Myths, and Legends

Where in the Museum do monsters hide, with demons and guardians lurking inside? With amulet in hand, come hunt creatures small and grand! Have you ever been curious about the origins of legendary creatures like vampires and werewolves? Have you wondered how to protect yourself against snake-haired or intestine-faced demons? Join us at the Penn Museum, where we’ll learn what makes a monster and face off against creatures that go bump in the night.

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Egypt Galleries, Greece Gallery, Native American Voices Gallery, Etruscan Italy Gallery, Mexico and Central America Gallery, Middle East Galleries, Asia Galleries

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1.5 hours

sphinx

Museum Highlights

Archaeology Around the Museum

What do objects tell us about the history, culture, and technology of the societies that produced them? This tour explains how archaeologists know what they know about ancient peoples. By looking at some of the most important Museum objects, further your understanding of our shared humanity and learn more about the mysteries solved by studying artifacts. Archaeology Around the Museum is one of our most popular experiences!

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Middle East Galleries, Asia Galleries, Egypt Galleries, Rome Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide

Length: 1 hour

Native American Headdress

Native American Voices Tour

Native American Voices invites visitors to leave preconceptions behind and discover a living tapestry of Nations with distinct histories and unexpected identities. Through new and old objects, video and audio recordings, and digital interactive opportunities, this exhibition allows visitors to develop a new understanding of the original inhabitants of this land, as told through Native American voices.

Galleries Included: Native American Voices

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

queen puabi's headdress

Queens, Warriors, and Archaeologists

Women in the Penn Museum

Women are often invisible in our accounts of the past, overshadowed by more famous men. This tour 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 the tales of adventurous female archaeologists who have excavated ancient sites and translated undeciphered scripts. Artifact illustrate the different ways that societies think of womanhood and gender, exploring how women self-represent and are represented across time and space.

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Egypt Galleries, Greece Gallery, Rome Gallery, Native American Voices Gallery, Middle East Galleries.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1 hour

roman bust

Rome and Etruscan Italy Gallery Tour

The artistic, commercial, and technical achievements of the Romans are evident in the Rome Gallery, which is filled with marble sculptures, including a highly unusual head from a cult statue of the goddess Diana as well as other deities, priests, and men and women of the Roman Republic and Empire.

Highlights from the Etruscan Italy Gallery include weaponry, tombs and funerary offerings, and exceptionally fine bucchero pottery. There are grand carved sarcophagi and ash urns with detailed images of Etruscan men and women.

Galleries Included: Rome Gallery, Etruscan Italy Gallery

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide, Ph.D./Curator

Length: 1 hour

ben franklin statue

University of Pennsylvania Campus Highlights Walking Tour

Walk in the footsteps of an Ivy League student on this exclusive guided experience!

University of Pennsylvania students provide an insider’s glimpse into the history, architecture, and student life of Penn. From the history behind Penn’s founder Benjamin Franklin to the historic student traditions that are still upheld today, groups will discover what makes America’s older University so unique.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

Length: 1.5 hours

Please Note: This 2.5 mile walking tour takes place outdoors.


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215.746.8183