Penn Museum Invites the Public to Share Perspectives on Human Sexuality
Tuesday, March 23, 4:30 to 6:00 pm
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is in the initial phase of developing an exhibition about human sexuality—and looking for public feedback! With the whole wide world of human cultures to draw upon, what might a Human Sexuality exhibition look like?
"What about Sex(uality)? A Penn Museum Workshop" on Tuesday, March 23, 4:30 to 6:00 pm, is an open call opportunity for interested members of the public to think about the broad scope of human sexuality, exploring ideas with Penn scholars through examination of and discussion about artifacts from the Museum collection and from a contemporary artist. The workshop and the reception following, open to adults 18 and older, is free. Advance reservations are requested. Register online or by phone: (215) 898-2680.
The event is held during the QPenn week, the University of Pennsylvania's annual LGBTQ pride and awareness week, and is co-sponsored by The Graduate Student Center, The Greenfield Intercultural Center, The Pan-Asian American Community House, The Penn Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, and The Penn Women's Center.
"Penn Museum is in the exciting process of evaluating, and reinvigorating, our exhibition program and our exhibition development process," noted Richard Hodges, the Museum's Williams Director. "We've never done an event quite like this. Our hope is that we'll be able to engage the public, and the Penn community, in a creative exploration of a subject that is very much a part of the human experience.
"And of course, it should be a lot of fun."
Cultural Anthropology Professor Deborah Thomas moderates the program, which features a panel of experts lending diverse perspectives: Ralph Rosen, Professor of Classical Studies; Jacolby Satterwhite, artist and Penn MFA student; and Claudia Valeggia, Professor of Biological Anthropology. They will consider four very different artifacts, three from the Penn Museum collection: a pipe bag with the image of double woman from the Lakota people (Sioux) in North America, an Indian linga often associated with phallus worship, and an ancient Egyptian papyrus containing a story of a sexual encounter between two gods which includes imagery of gender mutability. A fourth object, a contemporary art sculpture, combines sex, prayer, and joinery fetishes in "Kneeler," by artist Joe Ovelman.
The workshop format includes time for the public to examine and write their own impressions/questions about the artifacts under consideration; a panel and audience discussion about the artifacts selected; an opportunity for audience members to provide their own ideas about interesting aspects about human sexuality suitable for an exhibition; and an information opportunity to chat at a reception following the program.
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 and adjacent to SEPTA's University City Regional Rail station serving the R1, R2, and R3 lines). Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 pm. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $10 for adults; $7 for senior citizens (65 and above); $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" after 3:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and after 4:00 pm Sunday. Penn Museum can be found on the web at www.penn.museum. For general information call (215) 898-4000.
Photos from top: Beaded pipe bag, Great Plains Region, South Dakota, Lakota Sioux. Penn Museum Object CG010290-2531. Stone linga, 19th Century, from India. A linga is an abstract form of the Hindu god shiva. Penn Museum Object 21977.