Penn Museum Welcomes the Year of the Dragon: The 31st Annual Chinese New Year Celebration

Lion Dancer webPHILADELPHIA–Ring in the magical Year of the Dragon! Penn Museum presents its 31st annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The day features music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, workshops, children's activities, and a grand finale lion dance. The celebration is free with Museum admission donation ($10 general admission; $7 senior citizens [65+] and military personnel; $6 students [with ID] and children [6 to 17]; free for children under 6, members, and PennCard holders).

Special presentations introduce the sights, sounds, and wonder of China, with colorful dance performances highlighting the day. At 12:00 pm, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Lions conduct a Lion Dance workshop where attendees learn the joyful MeiMei3movements of the lion to the sound of the beating drum in this thousand-year-old dance. The 4- to 14-year-old girls of the MeiMei Dance Troupe entertain audiences with a patchwork of dances about legendary Chinese folk tales at 1:00 pm. At 2:00 pm, the University of Pennsylvania’s Pan Asian Dance Troupe  and the eight-member Penn Chinese Dance Club perform electrifying dance sequences accenting the ethnically diverse styles of Chinese dance.  At the 3:45 pm finale, lion dancers and drummers from Cheung’s Academy wind their way from Harrison Auditorium to the Warden Garden with a traditional lion dance to chase away evil and usher in a year of good luck.

Guests can journey back in time with Chinese for Families. Old and new legends come to life with puppet shows and children’s performances from 11:30 am to 12:00 noon. Everyone is invited to join the fun at a Trivia Game from 12:00 to 12:30. Visitors can see themselves as an Emperor or Empress, when they try some ancient-styled clothing on for size, and have a picture taken, from 2:00 to 4:00. 

Jung Qian

China’s rich musical legacy spans 7,000 years. Qin Qian and Kurt Jung take visitors through a condensed history of traditional and modern music performing on instruments such as the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle) and the yangchin (Chinese hammered dulcimer). Qin Qian is a well-known erhu performer from Nanning, China, and Kurt Jung is a local Chinese and Western music performer. Both teach Chinese music in the Philadelphia area and have published music books. The duo will demonstrate and discuss the differences and similarities between Chinese and Western music at 11:30 am and 2:00 pm.

Kung Fu web

A full lineup of presentations and drop-in workshops are ongoing throughout the day. Chinese for Families hosts a craft workshop where children can make their own dragons starting at 1:30.  Also, guests can experience the beauty of Chinese calligraphy. Onlei Annie Jung, a Calligraphy and Chinese painting instructor at the Perkins Center for the Arts, teaches visitors basic brush strokes for writing Chinese Characters and painting at a drop-in workshop held from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. She will also hold a workshop on the tangram, an ancient Chinese puzzle game, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm.

Activities for children and families abound in the Museum’s Chinese Rotunda at the Chinese Art Marketplace, from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm. Visitors can experience demonstrations by area artists, including paper cutting and Chinese calligraphy; learn more about Chinese New Year traditions, including Chinese zodiac and its legend and how the New Year is celebrated in China; and see the Museum’s famous 19th century crystal ball–believed to have been owned by the last Dowager Empress, a Chinese ruler in the late 1800s.

The Museum’s two shops, the Museum Shop and the Pyramid Shop for Children, offer special Chinese arts, crafts, games, and books. The Pepper Mill Café features Chinese lunch entrees and kid-friendly foods.

In China, the New Year celebration begins on January 23, 2012 and can last until February 6, 2012. It is one of the most important, and longest, festivals in China.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology 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.

Penn Museum is located at 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (on Penn's campus, across from Franklin Field). Public transportation to the Museum is available via SEPTA's Regional Rail Line at University City Station; the Market-Frankford Subway Line at 34th Street Station; trolley routes 11, 13, 34 and 36; and bus routes 12, 21, 30, 40 and 42. Museum hours are Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Wednesday, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered weekly. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $10 for adults; $7 for senior citizens (65 and above) and military personnel; $6 children (6 to 17) and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger; "pay-what-you-want" the last hour before closing. Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are available to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children offer a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing, and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call (215) 898-4000. For group tour information call (215) 746-8183.


11:00-12:30      –         Calligraphy Drop-in Workshop

11:30-12:00      –         Chinese New Year Puppet Shows & Stories

                                    with performances by Chinese for Families

11:30-12:00      –         Chinese Music Demonstration

12:00-12:30      –         Test your Knowledge - China Trivia Game

12:00-12:40      –         Penn Lions Chinese Lion Dance Workshop

1:00-1:30          –         MeiMei Dance Performance

1:00-2:00          –         Ba’z Tai Chi Demo & Workshop

1:30-3:30          –         Make your own Chinese Dragon

2:00-2:45          –         Pan-Asian and Penn Chinese Dance Club Performances

2:00-2:30          –         Chinese Music Demonstration

2:00-4:00          –         Chinese Emperor & Empress Photo Op

3:15-4:00          –         Kung Fu Demonstration and Lion Dance Finale


All Day Events, 11:00-3:30

Chinese Rotunda

  • Chinese Painting
  • Paper Cutting
  • Calligraphy


Museum Café

  • Special Chinese New Year Café Menu


 Captions, top to bottom: Lion Dancer Penn Museum’s 31st annual Chinese New Year Celebration, on Saturday, February 4 from 11 am to 4 pm, concludes with the lion dance grand finale performed by Cheng Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy. Photo: Penn Museum. MeiMei Dancers Young dancers from the MeiMei Dance Troupe entertain audiences with a variety of Pan-Asian dances during the Penn Museum’s 31st annual Chinese New Year Celebration, on Saturday, February 4, from 11 am to 4 pm. Photo: Penn Museum. Jung Qian Kurt Jung and Qin Qian perform traditional and modern Chinese music during Penn Museum’s 31st annual Chinese New Year Celebration, on Saturday, February 4, from 11 am to 4 pm. Photo: Penn Museum. Kung Fu Cheng Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy martial artists give an exhilarating performance during the Penn Museum’s 31st annual Chinese New Year Celebration, on Saturday, February 4, from 11 am to 4 pm. Photo: Penn Museum.


3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-4000


Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
First Wednesdays: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday: CLOSED


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