Penn Museum's Popular New Exhibition, Developed to Complement the Blockbuster "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" Exhibition at The Franklin Institute, To Remain Open

02 OCTOBER 2007, PHILADELPHIA, PAAmarna, Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun, the University of Pennsylvania Museum's popular new exhibition about the city of Amarna, Tutankhamun's childhood home, will remain open as a long-term exhibition, adding to the Museum's suite of ancient Egyptian galleries that offer the public a year-round opportunity to explore more than 5,000 years of ancient Egyptian culture, art, and history.

Visitors who already have been to the Amarna exhibition will soon have something new to see: on October 3, 2007 to June 2008, the exhibition will be adding a famous sculpture of the head of King Tutankhamun from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as part of a short-term loan exchange with that institution. Penn Museum's own kneeling statue of Tutankhamun, a featured item in the final section of the Amarna exhibition, will come down, to join the Met's exhibition, Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples, opening in New York October 16.

Penn Museum’s Amarna exhibition was originally conceived and developed as a complement to the record-setting blockbuster Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, which closed at The Franklin Institute September 30. Amarna, which opened in November of 2006, was originally scheduled to close at the end of October 2007.

"We have been delighted with the positive response that Amarna has received from Penn Museum visitors," noted Dr. David Silverman, Penn Museum’s Egyptian section Curator-in-Charge and co-curator, with Research Scientist Dr. Jennifer Wegner and Associate Curator Dr. Josef Wegner, of the Amarna exhibition. "By focusing on a very brief period of Egyptian history, and a time that was really unlike any other, the Amarna exhibition, surrounded as it is by galleries with Egyptian material that spans five millennia, provides visitors to Penn Museum with, we think, a really powerful way to think about and explore this complex, fascinating culture."

In addition to his role developing the Amarna exhibition at Penn Museum, Dr. Silverman was curator of the two most popular exhibitions ever in the United States: Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs which just closed at The Franklin Institute, and Treasures of Tutankhamun, thirty years ago in Chicago.

Penn Museum has a long history of research and excavation in Egypt, and the Museum houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Nubian material in the United States, with more than 42,000 ancient objects from that region of the world.

The Amarna exhibition is adjacent to the Lower Egyptian Gallery, which features a 12-ton granite sphinx of Ramesses II and colossal architectural elements from the Palace of Ramesses' son and successor, Merenptah, circa 1200 B.C.E. New from fall of 2006, the gallery offers a twenty-foot timeline featuring major activities in Egypt over 5000 years, as well as world events. Artifacts from the earliest, Pre-dynastic period (circa 5000-3000 B.C.E.), brought together in one section of the gallery, provide insights into the earliest known periods of ancient Egyptian culture.

The Upper Egyptian Gallery is home to the Museum's finest examples of Egyptian sculpture. The material on display, including carved relief, stone coffins, and exquisite three-dimensional sculpture, testifies to the superb craftsmanship of Egyptian artists and sculptors throughout its long history.

The Egyptian Mummy: Secrets and Science, long a favorite among visitors, is adjacent to the central Upper Egyptian gallery. The exhibition features nine mummies, and extensive information on the mummification process and the cultural context that made this practice such a central one in Egypt for so many years.

Penn Museum draws upon the expertise and new knowledge of trained docents, as well as graduate students and other scholars associated with the University of Pennsylvania and the Museum, to offer Egypt-related outreach lectures, tours, and special programs throughout the year. For information about the Museum's ongoing Pennsylvania Outreach Lecture Program, contact Prema Deshmukh at (215) 898-4065. Information about scheduling group tours, including specialized tours by Penn Egyptologists and graduate students with field experience in Egypt, contact Heather Dewey in the Education department at (215) 746-6774. Visitors can check the Museum's online events calendar, updated regularly, to learn about ancient-Egyptian related talks, tours, and more.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, located at 3260 South Streets on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage. For general information, visitors may call (215) 898-4000, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at

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