The University of Pennsylvania and Penn Museum Join Philadelphia Cultural Organizations to Present A YEAR OF EVOLUTION

Full Year of Public Programs Kicks Off with Opening of Penn Museum’s New Exhibition: “Surviving: The Body of Evidence”

17 MARCH 2008, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, originator of the modern theory of evolution, is just months away. Now, the University of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with Penn Museum and major Philadelphia cultural organizations, launches an ambitious YEAR OF EVOLUTION of public programs and events, from late April 2008 through May 2009.

The YEAR OF EVOLUTION kicks off for the public on Saturday, 19 April 2008, as the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opens “Surviving: The Body of Evidence,” a new exhibition which explores the process of evolution and its profound impact on humans. Other YEAR OF EVOLUTION public programs so far scheduled at the University of Pennsylvania include:

  • Donald Johanson, Director, Institute for Human Origins (May 2008)

  • Spencer Wells, Director, National Geographic Genographic Project (October 2008)

  • E. Janet Browne, author, Charles Darwin: Voyaging and the Power of Place (November 2008)

  • Kenneth R. Miller, author, Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution (February 2009).

Penn’s rich offerings will also include programs for children and families, scholarly symposia, and a special Penn Reading Project for entering freshmen.

Penn will be joined by leading Philadelphia cultural institutions, including The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Franklin, Philadelphia Zoo, Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and American Philosophical Society Museum (APS Museum). They will offer such programs as:

  • Exhibitions about the work of Darwin (American Philosophical Society Museum) and geneticist Gregor Mendel (The Academy of Natural Sciences)

  • An evolutionary perspective on a medical collection (Mütter Museum)

  • IMAX movie programs (The Franklin)

  • A closer look at our closest relatives: our fellow primates (Philadelphia Zoo)

Penn’s YEAR OF EVOLUTION website launches on April 16th. The site will offer the full schedule of University and city-wide programs, plus updates throughout the year and more information. Visit:

Dr. Howard Goldfine, Professor of Microbiology in Penn’s School of Medicine, and Dr. Michael Weisberg, Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, are the co-chairs of the University’s YEAR OF EVOLUTION. Dr. Janet Monge, Acting Curator of Physical Anthropology in the Penn Museum and co-curator of the exhibition, was instrumental in organizing the city-wide effort.

“We are at an extraordinarily fast-paced, productive, and challenging time for science,” notes Dr. Weisberg. “Evolutionary biology is the cornerstone of what we know and where we can go in to the future. With the approach of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday – and the 150th anniversary of his seminal book, On the Origin of Species – we felt now was an ideal time to offer our students and the wider public this exciting opportunity to explore evolution and its critical role in science.”

“Philadelphia is the perfect city to come together for a Year of Evolution,” adds Dr. Monge. “With its rich scientific and medical communities, its strong cultural community, and its many schools of higher education, Philadelphia has always been a leader in the advancement of science. The spirit of inquiry has been alive and well in this city from its earliest days – as witnessed by Benjamin Franklin, Penn’s founder, considered by many to be the first American scientist.”

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


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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