Housing one of the world’s greatest collections of ancient artifacts from around the world, the Museum illustrates the human story: who we are and where we came from. Engaging one hour tours can accommodate up to 30 people per tour and are currently available in English, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Nepali, Hindi, French, Italian, and Dutch (subject to guide availability).
NEW! GLOBAL GUIDES TOURS
What better way to learn about the cultural of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Through the Global Guides Program, the Museum offers gallery tours led by immigrants and refugees. 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 Museum’s new Signature Galleries:
Middle East Galleries, coming Spring 2018
Mexico and Central America Gallery, coming Fall 2018
Africa Galleries, Coming 2019
Our Signature and Special Exhibitions are place-based – take a themed gallery tour to travel to another place and time. Tour guides and gallery availability are subject to change.
Do you want to learn what China invented, traded, and received throughout history? Step into the Chinese Rotunda Gallery to follow the ancient network of trade routes. From the exchange of war horses to the spread of Buddhism, the Silk Road paved the path for Chinese civilization. Come witness the first evidence of Chinese script on ox scapula and turtle plastron. Come learn what the Chinese received in return for trading silk. Come discover what impact India had on China’s religious landscape. From the relief of Emperor Taizong with his beloved horses and the royal Iranian horses placed in tombs, to the protective warriors at temples and the Buddhist enlightened beings, you will see firsthand how the Silk Road profoundly impacted Chinese history.
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 tablet. A workman’s tool. Through these fascinating objects and over 1,200 more, the Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries will take you on a journey, exploring how ancient Mesopotamian societies gave rise to the world’s first cities—cities not so very different, in many ways, from our own.
In May 2010, the “Tivoli Incursion,” a standoff between Jamaican security forces and a local gang leader wanted for extradition by the United States government, resulted in the death of at least 75 civilians in West Kingston on the island of Jamaica. This new exhibition—part art installation, part memorial, and part call to action—sheds light on those events through compelling video and audio footage featuring firsthand accounts of people directly impacted by the violence.
Closing November 2018!
This new exhibition, created in conjunction with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what’s at stake—the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people—and what’s being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum’s extensive Near East collection tells the stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time.
Fascinating artifacts, many from the colonial period of this diverse continent, include masks, staffs, musical instruments, ivory, and jewelry, as well as objects of everyday life.
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.
An architectural marvel in its own right, the majestic Chinese Rotunda houses one of the finest collections of monumental Chinese art in the country.
Our Egypt Galleries contain a monumental 15-ton granite sphinx, the centerpiece of one of the finest collections of Egyptian architecture on display in the United States. Along with ancient mummies, you’ll find carved relief, stone coffins, and exquisite three-dimensional sculpture testifying to the superb craftsmanship of Egyptian sculptors throughout history.
Engraved gems, bronze statuettes, arms and armor, terracotta vessels, fine bucchero pottery, and elegant filigreed gold jewelry illustrate this once-prosperous and influential empire.
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.
Examples of the pre-Columbian civilizations of Mesoamerica include carved limestone monuments with Maya hieroglyphic writing and carved alabaster vases from the Uloa Valley in Honduras.
Remarkable objects from across the nation, paired with contemporary voices, combine to offer a new understanding of the first inhabitants of the North American continent, as told through Native American perspectives.
Can’t choose just one gallery? Arrange for a themed highlights tour that spans multiple galleries! Since over 200 of our objects are featured in the Smithsonian’s History of the World in 1000 Objects book, these tours help you explore some of the best cultural objects throughout the globe.