PHILADELPHIA 2012—It's time to get into the holiday spirit! Gather family and friends and head over to the Penn Museum for the free 17th annual Peace around the World holiday celebration Sunday, December 2, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Guests receive Museum "passports" with itineraries to "visit" diverse cultures and explore holiday traditions from around the world! The lively afternoon also features a Middle Eastern drumming workshop, a fusion dance workshop, a poetry reading and workshop, an Indian dance performance, storytelling, a choir performance, exotic facepainting, balloon art, international family crafts, and free treats for children!
"This joyful and distinctively international celebration is Penn Museum's holiday 'gift' to our community," said Dr. Julian Siggers, Penn Museum Director. "We open our doors in the spirit of cultural understanding and in the hope we all have for a world at peace."
The Museum's all-volunteer Women's Committee, the International Classroom Program, and Restaurant Associates, Penn Museum's exclusive caterer and operator of the Pepper Mill Café, are sponsors of the celebration. Guests are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy donation and help in the Museum's efforts to support the Penn Volunteers in Public Service during their holiday drive for West Philadelphia charities.
A HOST OF ACTIVITIES
At 1:30, Penn's multi-cultural performing arts group HYPE offers a sizzling dance workshop. HYPE members are versed in styles including jazz, hip-hop, street jazz, b-boy, and funk. The workshop lets visitors celebrate the diversity of dance and master a move or two from today's hot dance styles.
Joe Tayoun, internationally acclaimed Middle Eastern percussionist, leads an instructional drum circle at 2:00 pm. All visitors are encouraged to participate in the session and a limited number of drums are provided.
Artwell organization makes its first appearance at the Museum with a Peace-themed poetry reading and workshop, starting at 2:30 pm. Hosted in an open mic format, and facilitated by Artwell's teaching poet Angel Hogan, young poets perform prepared pieces and audience members have the opportunity to write and share through an interactive poetry exercise.
Nrutika Sankar and Sonal Makwana, Bharatiya Cultural Center, lead student dancers in a performance of the Bharathanatyam, a classical Indian dance, as well as folk dances from North and South India. At 3:00 pm, India presenter Priya Ganesh opens the dance performance with an invocation to Lord Ganesha.
At 3:30 pm guests can listen to storyteller Michele Belluomini as she recounts stories about cooperation, using one's wits, and how laughter and sharing bring people together.
PASSPORT TO THE WORLD
Peace around the World begins as guests pick up their "passports" and enter the Museum, before "departing" on their world tour. Throughout the galleries, presenters from Penn Museum's renowned International Classroom program and Penn cultural student associations share aspects of their country's holiday festivals, history, and traditions—and stamp guest passports. Passports stamped with four or more countries receive a small memento.
Penn's Hong Kong Student Association is on hand to talk about the festivities of the Chinese New Year. The HKSA table showcases New Year's traditions with lanterns, candles, traditional red packets with chocolate coins, and a wishing tree. Wishing trees are distinct to Hong Kong New Year celebrations and visitors have the opportunity to write down a New Year's wish and tie the wish to the tree.
Alima Tchafa, originally from Cameroon, speaks to the similarities and differences between Cameroonian and American culture. Her table features objects from Cameroon including masks, jewelry, clothing, money, food, and photographs from her most recent trip, in August 2012, to visit family in Foumban, Cameroon.
Penn's Japan Student Association acquaints visitors with an overview of Japanese culture and its most important holidays and festivals. Topics of discussion include sushi-making, the cherry blossom festival, movies, and more. Visitors learn to say basic Japanese words, write Japanese characters, and make origami creations.
A mix of presenters from India showcase the culture in a myriad of ways. Manashree Damle discusses music and dance through a display of photographs, traditional clothing, and a variety of musical instruments. Rita Sheth and Sudha Ganesh, Bharatiya Cultural Center, focus on Diwali—the Festival of Lights. During Diwali, lights are lit to celebrate the victory of good over evil and welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Ms. Sheth, originally from Gujarat, India, introduces Garba—the folk dance of Gujarat (Western Indian state) and a traditional dance of Diwali. Ms. Ganesh, originally from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, demonstrates the art of sari-wrapping and discusses Rangoli (sand art).
Muqaddas Ijaz, originally from Pakistan, narrates vignettes of her country with maps, photos, and mementos. She also gives an introduction to Urdu and Arabic languages and demonstrates the art of mehendi, also known as henna.
PianPian Xie, originally from China and a calligraphy expert, shows visitors how to write Chinese characters in calligraphy. Ms. Xie's table brings China's diverse culture to visitors through photos, mementos, and maps.
Students from Natives at Penn, a Penn organization of Native American and Penn students, speak about the culture and modern lives of Native Americans who make up more than five million people from 565 federally recognized tribes in America. Students share their traditions, seasonal ceremonies, art, and varied languages at the interactive table.
Manar Darwish, born and raised in Cairo Egypt, and professor of Islamic Art at Bryn Mawr College, shares stories of Egypt, past and present.
The women's auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community introduce visitors to the basics of Islam and discuss Islamic festivals, art, and history. Opportunities for children include writing one's name in Arabic and henna hand art.
Presenters from Iraq, Spain, Mexico, Honduras, and South Africa share stories of their mother countries, explain their culture and holiday celebrations, and offer an interactive component for visitors throughout the day.
FACEPAINTING, BALLOON FUN, MORE
Throughout the afternoon, visitors can enjoy Peanutbutter's face painting troupe and balloon creations by Family Fun balloon artists. Craft tables invite guests to create holiday crafts like snow globes and unity wreaths, and children can refuel in the Chinese Rotunda with a free cupcake from Restaurant Associates.
The Pepper Mill Café gets into the spirit, offering a 10% discount on a variety of hot entrees and holiday desserts available for purchase. The Museum Shop and the Pyramid Shop for children offer the public a 10% discount on all merchandise, and an international shopping experience, featuring fair trade holiday gifts that are globally responsible, ecologically sustainable, and "green."
International Classroom, providing most of the afternoon's presenters, is an innovative program within the Penn Museum, offering international and multicultural education for a variety of ages using a broad range of presentations, lectures, and workshops. Since its inception in 1961, several thousand international students have participated in International Classroom programs, offering a first hand perspective on specific countries or regions.
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, 42, and LUCY. 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. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens (65 +) and military personnel; $8 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 offered 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 www.penn.museum. For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.
Photos (top to bottom): At Penn Museum's Peace around the World event, on December 2, children and families receive Museum "passports" to be stamped by the different representing cultures they visit; Philadelphia musician Joe Tayoun presents a Middle Eastern drumming workshop as part of Peace around the World Day; International presenters from India return to Penn Museum’s 17th Annual Peace around the World event and introduce guests to the art and culture of India with hands-on activities; Peanutbutter’s face painters return to this year’s Peace around the World event. Photos: Penn Museum.