Making Use of Penn Museum's Collections
A Guide for Penn Faculty and Instructors
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 our collections while maintaining the safety and security of the Museum’s priceless objects. These guidelines include help for those who wish to:
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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.
Viewing Objects Not on Display in the Galleries:
Seeing objects not on display is a rare and exciting opportunity for students. Object study, however, works best for small classes, seminars, or groups of 25 or fewer students.
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 submit a class list of students at least one week before the scheduled class visit. Students will be asked to check-off their names when they arrive at the classroom.
Penn faculty must notify their students beforehand that no bags, food, or drinks are allowed near objects in Museum classrooms. Bags may be left in the back of the classroom. Note that cell phone and camera use is prohibited and that laptops should not be placed on the same surfaces where objects are on display.
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
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