Penn Museum Welcomes the Year of the Rat at the 27th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration

19 DECEMBER 2007, PHILADELPHIA, PA—If you’re a rat, this is your year! The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology celebrates the Year of the Rat, Saturday, 26 January 2008, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with its 27th annual Chinese New Year Celebration! Music and dance performances, food and martial arts demonstrations, games, workshops, arts, crafts, children's activities and much more - topped off with the traditional Chinese Lion Dance grand finale - are all part of the spectacular day-long celebration, FREE with Museum admission donation ($8 general admission; $5 students and seniors; free for children under 6, Museum members and PENNcard holders).

Music, dance and special performances bring the sights, sounds and spectacles of China to Museum galleries and auditoriums. Musician Kurt Jung offers two presentations on the differences between Eastern and Western musical instruments, comparing the erhu to the violin, the gu-zheng (Chinese zither) to the harp, and the ruan to the Western-style guitar.

His presentations also cover the historical backgrounds of these instruments and the differences between Eastern and Western musical constructions. The 11:30 a.m. program is recommended for interested adults, and the 2 p.m. program is designed for families with children. The presentations take place in the Lower Egyptian Gallery.

In the Harrison Auditorium, the Mei-Mei Dancers (ages 3 to 8) perform traditional dances from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium. The Jade River Dancers perform from 2 to 2:40 p.m., drawing from their repertoire of traditional dances including the Hat Dance, Iron Fan Dance, and the Spinning Handkerchief Dance. Boys with the troupe demonstrate their dexterity with the giant Chinese yo-yo. Young dancers from the Plum Flower Dance Company perform from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m. Penn Yo!, University of Pennsylvania’s premier Chinese a cappella group, performs in the Rainey Auditorium.

No Chinese New Year Celebration is quite complete without the traditional lion dance to chase away evil and usher in a year of good luck. After their Kung Fu demonstration from 3 to 3:45 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium, lion dancers and drummers from Cheung’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy wind their way outside, weather permitting, to the Upper Courtyard Garden for a boisterous finale.

Activities for children and families abound. Anne Martin-Montgomery, founder and director of Chinese for Families, an organization that works to support American families who want to learn Chinese together, introduces a New Year Puppet Show and student performances, in Rainey Auditorium from 11:30 a.m. until noon. From noon to 1 p.m., Chinese for Families offers an ongoing Lion Dance craft workshop in the Mosaic Gallery.

Chinese New Year traditions, such as the Chinese zodiac and its legend, how the New Year is celebrated in China, and the customary decorations, are the subjects of a drop-in workshop run by Ting Ting Jin, Bilingual Counseling Assistant at the McCall School, in the second floor Nevil classroom, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be an ongoing children's craft workshop centered around the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Rotunda from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Chinese food—decorative and edible—is always a featured part of the festivities. Chef Joe Poon returns to the Museum to give his ever-popular afternoon vegetable carving demonstration from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Upper Egyptian Gallery, when he quickly and skillfully turns modest vegetables into flowers, birds, and fanciful scenes. In addition, the Museum Cafe features several Chinese lunch entrees.

Onlei Annie Jung, a Chinese brush painting and calligraphy instructor at the Perkins Center for the Arts, joins the festivities this year to teach visitors some basic brush strokes for painting and writing Chinese characters at workshops held in Classroom 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Visitors can stop by the Lower Egyptian Gallery from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. to see Falun Gong teacher Lijie Sun demonstrate this widely-practiced system of healing exercises based on the art of QiGong. Master John Chen from Ba'Z Tai Chi & Kung Fu Studio offers a Tai Chi demonstration from 1 to 1:40 p.m. At 3 p.m. in the Harrison Auditorium, members of Cheung’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy offer a Kung Fu demonstration.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum features a world-famous collection of early monumental Chinese art, on display in the majestic Chinese Rotunda. A 19th century crystal ball believed to have been owned by the Dowager Empress serves as the gallery’s centerpiece. Students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Chinese Student Association offer information tables about Chinese culture, and demonstrate and teach popular Chinese games such as Mahjong and Go in the Rotunda throughout the day.

The Rotunda is also the site for demonstrations by area artists, including paper cutting by Fan-ling Chen and Chinese calligraphy by Bi Rui-lan. The Museum’s three shops - the Museum Shop, Second Site, and the Pyramid Shop for Children - spotlight their colorful selection of Chinese arts, crafts, games and books for the event.

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.

Located at 3260 South Street on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, Penn Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Mondays and holidays. Museum admission donation is $8 adults; $5 senior citizens and students with ID; free to Museum members, children under 6, and PENNcard holders. Call 215/898-4000 for general information, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at http://penn.museum.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION 2008 SCHEDULE

11:00-1:00 - Calligraphy Class - Classroom 2
11:00-11:30 - Plum Flower Dance Company - Harrison Auditorium
11:30-12:00 - Chinese for Families Workshop - Rainey Auditorium
11:00- 3:00 - Chinese New Year Traditions Workshop - Nevil Classroom
11:30-12:00 - Eastern vs. Western Musical Instruments (Families) - Lower Egypt
12:15-12:45 - Mei Mei Dancers - Harrison Auditorium
12:15-12:45 - Falun Gong Demonstration - Lower Egypt
1:00- 1:40 - Tai Chi Demonstration - Lower Egypt
1:00- 2:00 - Lion Dance Craft Workshop (Chinese for Families) - Mosaic Gallery
1:30- 4:00 - Year of the Rat Craft Workshop - Chinese Rotunda
2:00- 4:00 - Joe Poon Vegetable Carving Demonstration - Upper Egypt
2:00- 2:30 - Introduction to Feng Shui - Rainey Auditorium
2:00- 2:40 - Jade River Dance Company Performance - Harrison Auditorium
2:00- 2:45 - Eastern vs. Western Musical Instruments - Lower Egypt
2:30- 3:45 - Calligraphy Class - Classroom 2
3:00- 3:45 - Kung Fu Demonstration - Harrison Auditorium
3:45- 4:00 - Lion Dance Finale - Warden Garden

All Day Events, 11:00-3:30
Chinese Rotunda
Chinese Painting
Dragonboat Festival Activity Table
Museum Shop and Pyramid Shop
Paper Cutting
Calligraphy
Membership Information
Museum Café
Chinese food (other foods available)

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 http://www.penn.museum.


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

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