PHILADELPHIA, PA July 2015— They are treasures that have survived centuries and even millennia: one of the world's oldest fragments of the gospel of Saint Matthew; the first Bible printed in the Americas, in the Native American language of Massachuset; a New Testament Bible published in twelve languages in Nuremberg, Germany, 1599; the earliest version of the Mesopotamian flood story, pre-dating the Biblical story of Noah, written on clay nearly 2,500 years ago.
In honor of the first visit by Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, the Penn Museum, in conjunction with the Penn Libraries, offers Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World , a special exhibition of rare artifacts from the Museum Collection and rare books and manuscripts from the Penn Libraries. On view August 15 through November 7, Sacred Writings provides the centerpiece experience for a Museum visit, where a special focus on the ancient Near East, Egypt, and the Canaan and Ancient Israel galleries and beyond affords visitors a unique opportunity to delve into ancient cultures and Bible-era art and artifacts.
Ancient Mummies Meet Modern Medicine with "The Anatomy of the Mummy"
Special Issue of The Anatomical Record
Co-edited by Penn Museum Curator Janet Monge, Publication Follows Earlier
Penn Museum Symposium Exploring Range of Techniques to Study Mummies
PHILADELPHIA, PA, 2015- Mummies are fascinating to the general public. It turns out they are fascinating to scientists, too. Anthropologists, archaeologists and doctors and researchers in the medical community have been coming together for decades, now, engaging in interdisciplinary exploration of mummies from all over the world. What have they learned? What can modern medical techniques applied to long deceased humans tell us—and what techniques and practices hold the best promise for scholars eager to unwrap more about the human experience in the past?
Several years ago, Janet Monge, Penn Museum Curator of Physical Anthropology, connected with Jeffrey Laitman, Associate Editor of the scholarly journal The Anatomical Record, to bring together a range of scholars to discuss these questions at a Penn Museum public symposium. That 2011 symposium formed the kernel of an unusual June 2015 Special Issue of The Anatomical Record (available online beginning May 22), "The Anatomy of the Mummy."
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2015—Military families seeking summer fun can enjoy free admission to the Penn Museum through Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Military personnel and their families need only to show valid military or military family ID to receive complimentary admission for up to five family members. The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.
The Penn Museum Joins in the Association of Art Museum Directors'
Sixth Annual Celebration of Art Museum Day on May 19, 2015
With Free Admission and Special Programming
Philadelphia, PA, MAY 2015—On Tuesday, May 19, the Penn Museum offers a day of free admission and special programming for adults and families, as part of the Association of Art Museum Directors' (AAMD) Art Museum Day, coinciding with International Museum Day on Monday, May 18, 2015. Last year, the Penn Museum—along with 180 other AAMD member museums across North America—participated in Art Museum Day.
Art Museum Day underscores the critical role art museums play as cultural resources in their communities and celebrates the unique opportunities AAMD member museums offer visitors to engage with works of art. This year, the Penn Museum offers special activities throughout the day: a drop-in children's craft workshop inspired by Beneath the Surface: Life, Death and Gold from Ancient Panama, the special exhibition open through November 1 (10:00 to 11:30 am); opportunities to chat with a Museum mummies conservator during "Open Window" times at In the Artifact Lab: Conserving Egyptian Mummies (11:15 and 2:00 pm); and a chance to chat with docents and handle reproduction artifacts at special Cartifacts (noon to 4:00 pm). At 12:30 pm, Dr. C. Brian Rose, Peter C. Ferry Curator-in-Charge, Mediterranean Section, offers a curator's tour of Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks, and Romans.
Philadelphia, PA 2015—The Penn Museum's popular Summer Nights Concert Series brings a combination of eclectic live music and laid-back fun to University City. Now in its sixth year, the series runs Wednesdays from 5:00 to 8:00 pm June 17 through September 2, 2015. Concerts are held in the Museum's outdoor Stoner Courtyard, offering an urban green space replete with gardens, a central marble fountain, a lawn, and a peace bench designed by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. General admission for guests ages 6 and up is just $10 (and includes Museum admission), and free for children under 6 and Museum members.
This year's series features cultural rhythms from around the globe by a mix of local and international bands and indie musicians offering lively Calypso, vintage rock 'n roll, Americana melodies, Afro-Brazilian pop, Jazz-Age syncopation and more. The Penn Museum's international galleries remain open, with an optional, docent-led mini-tour in between music sets at 6:30 pm. The Museum Shop offers extended hours, allowing visitors to browse books, jewelry, toys, and more until 7:00 pm. Outside, guests of all ages can explore touchable (and even wearable) artifacts at a Cartifact station.
The Pepper Mill Café offers a garden bar, with cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and regionally themed light fare available for purchase. Guests can choose from three outdoor seating options for each performance: bistro-style tables, stage-front seating, or the lawn. Concerts move inside in the event of rain.
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2015—Penn Museum's popular Summer Wonders series exploring diverse cultural traditions through music, dance, folk tales, and demonstrations, returns in July with a fresh new name—World Wonders—and a global lineup of eight programs geared toward children 5 to 13 and their families and caregivers.
World Wonders 2015 programs run Wednesday mornings, July 1 through August 19, from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. The programs are free with Museum admission—guests may explore the museum before or after the program. On World Wonders Wednesdays, the Pepper Mill Café offers children's lunch options, and the Museum Shop provides a 10% discount on all games and children's books. Select World Wonders dates offer an extended program option for homeschooling families; for details, visit penn.museum/educators-k-12/homeschool-groups.
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New Program Engaging Philadelphia Teachers, Students and their Families
Wraps Up a Strong Pilot Year with New Teacher Workshops Set for July
May 6, 2015—Unpacking the Past, Penn Museum's innovative new, hands-on, multi-stage program for Philadelphia 7th grade students, teachers, and families, receives a special boost today, as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces a $20,000 grant to the Museum in support of the program.
"We are delighted to receive this prestigious national grant award for a collaborative new program that, in its first year of activity, has already reached and inspired thousands of Philadelphia's young people to delve deeper into the ancient histories of the Egyptian and the Roman Worlds, exploring their rich arts, cultural expressions, and scientific achievements. We are proud of this innovative, accessible program, and the powerful educational experiences it opens up, both in the classrooms and in our Museum," noted Julian Siggers, Ph.D., Williams Director of the Penn Museum.
PHILADELPHIA, PA April 2015—"Music for the Mystery of Silents," the Relache New Music Ensemble Sunday afternoon series at the Penn Museum, takes a decidedly French twist on Sunday, May 3 at 3:00 pm, with the final program of the fall to spring three concert series: "Les Mystères Français."
The program, presented in the Penn Museum's Widener Hall, features the classic 1912 French silent film The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador, directed by Léonce Perret with musical score by Régis Huby, as well as two musical improvisations from last summer's "Sounding Cézanne" project for the Barnes Foundation. Bookending the program are two works by veteran Philadelphia composer Paul A. Epstein: A Song to Sing in D, a premiere, and to conclude, a brief, lively work, Fancy Flight.
Panel Discussion Explores Work, Vision of the M. Night Shyamalan Foundation
PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 30, 2015) – The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation (MNSF), locally based and world-focused, hosts a panel discussion, "Action to Make a Better World," featuring founders M. Night Shyamalan and his wife, Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan, Vice President of the MNSF, with three MNSF grantees, to discuss their work and the progress of the Foundation. The event—MNSF's first public program—is presented in partnership with the Global Philadelphia Association and the Penn Museum—Friday, April 17, 6:00 pm in the Widener Lecture Hall of the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street in Philadelphia. The event is FREE but space is limited and online advance reservations are required.
Lecture and Luncheon Benefit at the Penn Museum May 4, 2015
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The Realities of Archaeological Fieldwork From a Woman's Perspective
Philadelphia, PA April 2015 – With Mother's Day not far off, the Women's Committee of the Penn Museum offers a unique way to celebrate, with a benefit luncheon lecture program that puts the spotlight on women in the field: Digging Dames: Women Archaeologists Come Clean runs Monday, May 4,10:30 am to 3:00 pm at the Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia. Kate Moore, Ph.D., an archaeologist who has conducted fieldwork in South America and Central Asia, offers a lively presentation at the event, which includes a catered lunch in the Museum's ancient Egyptian gallery, special shopping opportunities in the Museum's Chinese Rotunda, a raffle, door prizes, and complimentary valet parking. Tickets are $125 and $150, and all proceeds benefit the Penn Museum.
Special Event Celebrates Bestselling Author's New Book Exploring World War II Resistance Fighters
and Ancient Greek Athletic Practices Thursday, April 23, 6:00 pm
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2015—Christopher McDougall, the bestselling author of Born to Run, believes that there is an athletic, immensely capable ancient Greek hero inside of us all—and he's coming to the Penn Museum to inspire us to make first contact.
On Thursday, April 23, the author, journalist and running advocate with a passion for exploring the limits of human potential offers up a special cabaret-style program to celebrate his newest book, Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance (Alfred A. Knopf publishers, on sale from April 14, 2015). The program, Natural Born Heroes, begins at 6:00 pm in the Museum's Harrison Auditorium. Tickets, which include copies of the new hardcover book, are available online in advance or at the door while supplies last: $35; $30 Penn Museum members. A book signing follows the event.
Premiere of New Space Dedicated to Student-Curated Exhibitions
Philadelphia, PA, April 2015—The story of corn, from its earliest days as an important crop in the Americas to its current presence in food and drink around the world, is the subject of a small University of Pennsylvania-student curated exhibition presented as part of the University's 2014–2015 theme, the Year of Health. Corn: From Ancient Crop to Soda Pop is the inaugural exhibition in a newly refurbished space dedicated to student-curated offerings at the Penn Museum. The food-focused exhibition, fittingly set in new cases just outside the Museum's Pepper Mill Café, runs April 10 through March 13, 2016.
Penn Museum's Penn Cultural Heritage Center Part of International Consortium Seeking Ways to Take Concrete Action to Preserve Ancient Artifacts
March 5, 2015—Syria's renowned Ma'arra Mosaic Museum, significantly damaged and in danger of collapse as a result of the country's long and ongoing civil war, has undergone emergency conservation and protection efforts by Syrian cultural heritage professionals and volunteers.
The emergency project, first conceived during a Syrian cultural heritage emergency workshop in the summer of 2014, was a months' long initiative of an international group of organizations: the Safeguarding the Heritage of Syria and Iraq Project (SHOSI), which is a consortium of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania Museum; the Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution; the Geospatial Technologies Project at the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Shawnee State University, The Day After—a Syrian NGO; and the U.S. Institute of Peace. The consortium planned the project, coordinated necessary governmental approvals in the war-torn country, and paid for the materials required to carry out the work with support from the J. M. Kaplan Fund.
PHILADELPHIA, PA, Spring 2015—Felix natalis! Roughly translated, that is "happy birthday" in Latin—a great phrase to use at the royal celebration of Rome's Birthday Saturday, April 18, 11 am to 4 pm, at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. Guests will be treated to explosive gladiator fights and interactive legionary tactical demonstrations, mythology gallery tours in the Worlds Intertwined: Etruscans, Greeks and Romans suite of galleries, toga wrapping demonstrations and laurel wreath-making craft tables, short lectures and minute "pop up" presentations on ancient Roman history and life, in the galleries.
PHILADELPHIA, PA 2015—What happens when Native American voices speak out—through the musical medium of rap and hip hop?
On Saturday, March 21, the Penn Museum hosts Frank Waln, Def-i, Tall Paul, and Wake Self, four nationally-known Native American rap and hip hop artists, for an afternoon of in-the-galleries spoken word, a follow up panel discussion, and an evening concert. The afternoon-into-night program, Modern Native Voices: The Medium of Hip Hop, is presented in conjunction with the Museum's five-year exhibition, Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now. The program is sponsored by Natives at Penn, Native American and Indigenous Studies, the Greenfield Intercultural Center, and Du Bois College House, CCCP, all at Penn, as well as Drexel University, Student Center for Inclusion & Culture, with support from Delaware Investments/Macquarie Group Foundation. Admission is free.
PHILADELPHIA, PA—From mummification workshops to hieroglyph classes, tours, games, and presentations by curators and archaeologists, to a traditional drum circle and Egyptian folk dances, the Penn Museum puts the spotlight on one of the world's oldest civilizations with Egyptomania!, a day-long celebration Saturday, March 21, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The family-friendly day, set throughout the Museum's world-renowned ancient Egyptian galleries, showcases 5,000 years of ancient Egyptian culture—a culture that continues to fascinate researchers, travelers, writers, filmmakers, and the general public. The celebration is free with Museum admission donation ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders).
Newly Discovered Pharaoh at Abydos, Part of Forgotten Egyptian Dynasty,
Offers New Answers, More Questions, About Egypt 3,600 Years Ago
FEBRUARY 26, 2015—He may have led a king's life, but new forensic evidence gleaned from the remains of Pharaoh Senebkay indicates that the Egyptian ruler died in battle—the earliest known pharaoh to have done so—viciously attacked by multiple assailants.
Last year, the tomb of king Senebkay (ca. 1650–1600 BCE) was discovered at the site of Abydos by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Museum working in association with Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. Now the team led by Dr. Josef Wegner of the Penn Museum has completed a detailed study of Senebkay's skeleton, as well as the remains of several other kings whose tombs have been discovered nearby. The 2014-15 research is supported by the Penn Museum, with additional support from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council.
"Forensic analysis has provided some new answers about the life, and death, of this ancient Egyptian king," noted Dr. Wegner, "while raising a host of new questions about both Senebkay, and the Second Intermediate Period of which he was a part."
For the most updated information on programs offered at the Penn Museum, and for online pre-registration (optional or required for some programs) visit the Museum's website: www.penn.museum/calendar.
Wednesday, March 4, 6:00 pm
"One Book, One Philadelphia" Workshop
Objects that Connect Us
The Free Library of Philadelphia has selected Orphan Train (2013) by Christina Baker Kline as its One Book, One Philadelphia 2015 selection. Dr. Lucy Fowler Williams, Associate Curator and Sabloff Keeper of Collections, offers a special workshop that picks up on the book's themes—great for book clubs or multigenerational friends and family (teens through adults). In Orphan Train, young Molly, a part-Penobscot Indian, and Vivian, an older woman whose roots lie in Ireland, show how objects hold special significance—as they often do for each of us. Join Dr. Williams on this behind-the-scenes Native American object exploration, discussion, and reflective personal writing program. Free with Museum admission. Limited enrollment; pre-registration required. To register, visit www.penn.museum/calendar or call 215.898.2680.
Camp Offers Weekly Themes June 29 through August 21, 2015
PHILADELPHIA, PA— This summer, adventurous children ages 7 through 13 can experience a unique day camp that takes them through time and across continents at the Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) on Penn's campus in Philadelphia.
"Anthropologists in the Making" runs eight theme-oriented one-week sessions from June 29-August 21, 2015. Each week culminates in a Friday afternoon showcase, where parents and friends are invited and where campers demonstrate all they've discovered through creative displays and interactive presentations. Details about the popular camp can be found online: www.penn.museum/camp. Online registration opens February 15 via the website.
PHILADELPHIA, February 2015—Penn students in a new course, Living World in Archaeological Science (Anthropology 267/567), offered in the Penn Museum's new Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials will be learning about scientific analysis of skeletal remains via a most extraordinary specimen: a very ancient, very rare human skeleton originally from the world famous site of Ur (in modern day Iraq), newly "rediscovered" in the Museum's storage. The students, working with Dr. Janet Monge, Penn Museum professor and Penn Museum Curator of Physical Anthropology, will be learning right along with Museum scholars as they study the skeleton, learn more about how it was excavated, and its place in the ancient history of the Near East.