At the Penn Museum Archives, we collect the stories behind the artifacts. We encourage researchers and enthusiasts to make use of our materials, which include information about the history of archaeology and anthropology, the history of photography, a record of museological practice for the last century, and the papers of important scholars.
Our days and hours of operation are Tuesday - Friday, 9:30am - 4:30pm. We encourage all visitors to make an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of the intended visit. If you have reference questions, wish to make an appointment, or would like to contact the Archives for any other reason, please feel free to call or email at any time.
Please visit the museum's visitor pages for information about public transit, parking, and finding the museum. Visitors to the archives should check in with a guard at the Kress or Trescher entrances – an archives staff member will then come to meet you.
Wireless internet access and electrical outlets are available in the reading room – we encourage the use of laptops and digital cameras. Please limit the use of flash photography. Personal belongings (other than paper, pencils, laptops and cameras) will be safely stored away from the reading room table.
When you visit, an archivist will ask you to sign in and complete visitor paperwork. You will then have the opportunity to discuss your research interests so we can make sure that we are providing the fullest use of our collections. The staff of the Penn Museum Archives are happy to answer questions pertaining to the history of the museum, our excavations, and our holdings. Museum staff may not be able to perform extensive research for patrons unable to personally visit the archives, although we can provide a list of researchers-for-hire who can help you find the information you need.
Using Our Materials
Items in our collection are unique and often delicate. Please be sure to keep documents in the order that you found them. Items that you wish to mark for future review or photocopying can be marked with special tabs, but must be kept in place. We will provide you with resources one at a time, so that there is sufficient workspace for the proper handling of documents. If you are working with photographic negatives or archival prints, the archivist will provide gloves, and if necessary, a light table and a loupe or magnifier. Don't hesitate to ask questions about the proper use and care of archival collections.
Photocopies are available for 25 cents per page. Because of limited staff resources, we may not be able to fulfill photocopy requests of more than one hundred pages. We may need a few days to fulfill photocopy orders, and we're happy to mail them to you. We can also scan images for you. Reference scans (72 dpi jpg) are available for three dollars each; publication-quality scans (300 dpi tiff) are available for fifteen dollars each. We normally offer a three week turn-around for scans, however, we can rush the order for an additional fee. Please contact the archives staff for commercial rates.
The vast majority of our collections are from the museum as an institution (director’s office records, curatorial records, etc.), or from Penn-sponsored archaeological and anthropological expeditions. Since corporate works (like ours) created in 1889 and later are still under copyright, the most of our manuscript and photographic collections, and all of our sound and moving image collections, are not available for reproduction without the completion of a permissions request form.
Please don’t think that this means that we want to keep you from using our collections. In fact, the opposite is true. There are hundreds of articles and dissertations waiting to be written from the material in our collections, and nothing would make us happier than to see you make something of them. We’re happy to give you digital facsimiles of items in our collections, and any fee that we may charge is only to help recover some of the high cost of scanning.