Teaching Access to Collections

A Guide for Penn Faculty and Other Instructors
The Penn Museum welcomes and encourages Penn faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants to make use of its collections (now accessible online at www.penn.museum/collections). We have world-class collections of objects from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, ancient Egypt, the Mediterranean, and the Near East, as well as extensive photographic, film, and document archives, and a significant collection of biological specimens and remains in our Physical Anthropology collection. Our public galleries provide an introduction to geographical regions of the world and thematic subjects, while thousands of objects in storage are available for more detailed, small-group study. Integrating a visit to the galleries or a collections study session is a highlight for many classes ranging from Introductory Latin to African Music.

The following guidelines for class access have been developed to facilitate the use of collections while maintaining the safety and security of the Museum’s irreplaceable objects. For inquiries about access to Museum collections, please email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

These guidelines include help for those who wish to:

 
 

Submit Your Request

Please fill out and submit the Class Access Request Form.

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Visiting Public Galleries with Your Class:

Many of the Museum’s most interesting objects are currently on display. A gallery visit may be the best option for large classes, survey courses, or situations in which an overall view of the subject matter is desired.

  • Museum’s galleries are open during normal public hours (closed Monday; open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am - 5 pm).
  • Before scheduling a gallery visit, instructors should contact Visitor Services (call 215.746.8183 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to ensure no conflicts with previously scheduled tours or events.
  • There is no cost associated with Penn faculty leading their own student group tour in our galleries. We simply ask that you check in at one of our Admissions Desks when you arrive so we can maintain an accurate count of daily attendance. This also helps us assist any late arriving students to meet up with your group.

Viewing Objects Not on Display in the Galleries:

Seeing objects not on display is a rare and exciting opportunity for students. Object study works best for small classes, seminars, or groups of 25 or fewer students. Penn faculty should request object use in their classes at least three weeks in advance. Please fill out and submit the Class Access Request Form. The Museum will then notify the instructor whether or not class access has been approved and scheduled.

Option A: Viewing Objects in a Museum Classroom

For classes that normally meet in the Museum, objects can be brought to the usual classroom, if appropriate. For classes that normally meet elsewhere, the Museum will try to make arrangements for access to an appropriate Museum classroom. Flexibility in scheduling will help facilitate this process.

Objects are available for classes Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Special permission and arrangements are required to view objects outside of these normal Museum hours.

To ensure object safety and security, each class group should have at most a 10:1 student-to-staff ratio. It is the instructor’s responsibility to arrange appropriate supervision during a class visit (e.g. using teaching assistants or dividing classes into multiple visits).

Penn faculty must notify their students beforehand that no coats, bags, food, or drinks are allowed in Museum classrooms or storage areas. Items may be placed in lockers which are provided free of charge. Note that tablet and laptop use are not permitted at tables displaying artifacts. Pens, highlighters, and markers are prohibited in both classrooms and storage areas.

Students will be encouraged to look at objects, but only designated Museum Staff or those who have been trained in object handling will be allowed to handle objects unless special arrangements have been agreed upon with the relevant Curatorial Section.

Option B: Viewing Objects in a Museum Storage Area

Storage areas may be visited Monday to Friday 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Class visits to storage areas are not permitted during evenings or weekends.

The maximum number of students allowed in a storage area at any one time is 10. To accommodate larger class groups instructors will need to schedule multiple visits.

For security reasons, students who are late may not be permitted to join their class group.

Penn faculty must notify their students beforehand that no coats, bags, food, or drinks are allowed in Museum classrooms or storage areas. Items may be placed in lockers which are provided free of charge. Note that cell phone, tablet, laptop, and camera use are prohibited in storage areas. Pens, highlighters, and markers are prohibited in both classrooms and storage areas.

Students will be encouraged to look at objects, but only designated Museum Staff or those who have been trained in object handling will be allowed to handle objects unless special arrangements have been agreed upon with the relevant Curatorial Section.


Submit Your Request
Please submit the Class Access Request Form.

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