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Group Tours

Unlock the wonder of the human story and bring to life some of the world’s greatest evidence and mysteries of human history 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, and Arabic (subject to guide availability).

Guide Options

Choose from a variety of tour guide options that best suits your group’s interests!

Museum Docent
Led by highly trained museum volunteer tour guide
Graduate Guide
Led by Penn Ph. D. candidate or Graduate Student at Penn who lends a unique perspective which speaks to their work actively working out in the archaeological field.
Global Guide
Led by new Philadelphians who 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 experts are world renowned archaeologists and anthropologists who possess the highest level of knowledge and expertise.

Group Rates

Available Guided Tours

african stone carving

Africa Gallery 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 will feature this spectacular collection in spaces renovated and redesigned for all audiences to enjoy. New interpretive displays will engage all visitors, from children to adults, novices to experts. Objects will trace stories across centuries of Africa’s great kingdoms and rich, diverse cultures. The galleries will challenge the antiquated view of the “dark continent” by presenting Africa’s continental and international connections, creating new narratives by highlighting Africa’s own culture and its place in the world.

Galleries Included: Africa Galleries

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

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 Midas Touch, the most awarded of the Dogfish Head brews, created in part by the biomolecular archaeologist.

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

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

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 to 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 (Mummies) Gallery

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

ancient artifact

Canaan and Israel Gallery Tour

The Penn Museum’s late 21st century excavations in the Levant collected most of these artifacts, which demonstrate the influence of other cultures on objects of daily life.

Galleries Included: Canaan and Ancient Israel Gallery

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

crystal sphere

China Gallery 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: China Gallery.

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

sarcophagus

Egypt Gallery 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 both human and animal mummies that are thousands of years old! Please note this tour involves viewing ancient human remains.

Galleries Included: Egypt (Mummies) Gallery

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

Please note: Our Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery is currently offline for conservation and renovation. This tour will not include the Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery.

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 pre-eminent merchants and their pottery represents the best archaeological evidence of the extensiveness of their trade and influence in the Mediterranean world. Highlights of the gallery include Attic 11 Figure and 4 Figure 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

ancient egyptian carved stone

Immigrants, Refugees, and Occupiers in the Ancient World

How do you think of yourself? Do you identify with your family's place of origin? Your own birthplace? Where you live right now? Since ancient times, people have been on the move, traveling across land and sea to conquer, flee, and explore. Some people identify with their origins, and some adopt a new identity when they relocate. This phenomenon is as much a part of our lives today as it was in the past. Come and see how people in the ancient world moved. You’ll find the cultures, nations, and empires that you thought you knew were far more complicated than you initially thought!

Galleries May Include (subject to availability): Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, Rome Gallery, Greece Gallery, Canaan and Ancient Israel Gallery, Cultures in the Crossfire Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

ancient artifact from mesoamerica

Mexico and 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 across 3,000 years will be showcased in a new gallery that celebrates craftsmanship and culture. The Mexico and Central America Gallery will also explore 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

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

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

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, China Gallery, Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, Rome Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Docent, Graduate Guide

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 (Mummies) Gallery, Greece Gallery, Rome Gallery, Native America Voices Gallery, Middle East Galleries.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

roman bust

Rome and Etruscan Italy Gallery Tour

The artistic, commercial and technical achievements of the Romans are evident in The Roman World 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 World include exceptionally fine bucchero pottery, fi4 dark 15 and 11 in shapes that recall luxury metalwork. There are grand carved sarcophagi and ash urns with detailed sculptu4 images of Etruscan men and women.

Galleries Included: Rome Gallery, Etruscan Italy Gallery.

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

ancient sarcophagusc

Show Me the Mummy!

It’s hard to imagine ancient Egypt without mummification or the process of preserving the body after death. Pop-culture presents the idea that mummies come back to life to seek revenge or fulfill an ancient curse. However, for the ancient Egyptians the purpose of mummification was to be reborn and live for eternity. Embark on a tour of discovery through the Museum’s Egyptian Galleries and uncover how ancient Egyptians used mummification to preserve their legacies and achieve an eternal goal. You will explore the mythological origins of mummification, examine both human and animal mummies that are thousands of years old, decode elaborately decorated coffins, and discover how scanning technology is used to “unwrap” a mummy's layers to help us to better understand this ancient ritual. (Disclaimer: This tour involves viewing ancient human remains)

Galleries Included: Egypt (Mummies) Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

stone cat statue

The Secret Life of Pets in the Ancient World

We call them our best friends, but just how long have we had these furry companions? Take a look closer at some of the archaeological evidence for our four-legged friends! This tour focuses on the relationship of humans and their domestic animals in ancient cultures by examining an Egyptian cat mummy, a Chinese horse sculpture, Athenian canine vase imagery, and much more! In many ways, the discipline of archaeology allows us to better understand our "best friends" through the ages.

Galleries Included: Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, China Gallery, Greece Gallery.

Available Tour Guides: Graduate Guide

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 at “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

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


Contact

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215.746.8183