Penn Museum’s Annual Celebration of African Cultures

Shake Your Sekere!
Saturday, March 2, 1:00–4:00 pm

CachetIveyWINTER 2013—African music and dance, storytelling, art and artifacts, crafts, games, and cuisine take center stage on Saturday, March 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, as the Penn Museum presents the 23rd annual Celebration of African Cultures. The event features a mix of acclaimed local artists including storyteller Sarai Abdul-Malik, master percussionist Paul (Abba) Lucas, dance instructor Cachet Ivey, drum and dance teachers from ODUNDE 365, and percussionists of the Women's Sekere Ensemble. The afternoon is FREE with Museum admission donation ($12 for adults; $10 for seniors [65+] and military personnel; $8 for full-time students [with ID] and children [6-17]; free for Museum members, children under 6, and PennCard holders).

Activities for All Ages

DSC 0031Sarai Abdul-Malik weaves together traditional and original folk tales with universal truths rooted in African American history during 1:15 and 3:00 pm performances. Ms. Abdul-Malik's blend of storytelling transports guests from Philadelphia to West Africa, to the George Sea Islands, and back again.

African drumming is a big part of the day as guests can learn basic techniques in two separate workshops. At 1:45 pm Paul (Abba) Lucas performs a traditional drumming demonstration entitled "Come Experience the Rhythm Within," then invites the audience to take part in a workshop. ODUNDE 365 dance and drum instructors offer a drumming workshop sampling Nigerian and Ghanaian drumming techniques at 2:15 pm. Attendees can learn some dance steps too! Drums are provided in both workshops and participants are also free to bring their own drums.

At 3:30 pm, Mr. Lucas and instructor Cachet Ivey lead a dance workshop called "Dance to the Beat—You've Got to Move Your Feet" and spin African tales (and participants) to the beat of a drum.

Womens Sekere webThe Women's Sekere Ensemble, percussionists dedicated to the preservation of African music, introduces visitors to the rhythms and tones of the sekere, a traditional Nigerian percussion instrument made from intricately beaded gourds. They perform at 1:00 and 2:30 pm.

Throughout the day visitors can learn to play the traditional game of mancala, create their own African drums and Ghanaian kente cloths at family craft tables, and shop for Africa-related and other items at the Museum's Main Shop and Pyramid Shop for Children. The Museum's Pepper Mill Café joins in the day, offering African-inspired lunch and afternoon dining options.

Inspiration throughout the Galleries

Africa with Larry webVisitors can explore art and artifacts from throughout the African continent in the Penn Museum's current Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum gallery project, the African Gallery and the Egypt Galleries. The African Gallery features more than 300 objects from cultures throughout the continent, including masks, gold weights, textiles, sculpture, and musical instruments. The Museum also includes Egyptian Galleries with authentic mummies, a 12-ton red granite Sphinx (the largest Sphinx in the Western Hemisphere), and architectural elements from the Palace of the Pharaoh Merenptah, all ca. 1200 BCE, as well as statuary and tomb materials from 5,000 years of Egyptian culture.

DSC 0050Those who have visited the Imagine Africa gallery project before will see some new information and object changes. Since the engagement-driven gallery project opened in September 2011, the Museum has been collecting ideas and feedback from thousands of visitors via web, one-on-one interviews and small group surveys, gallery white boards, and feedback questionnaires. Some of the results—showing what community members have indicated they would like to see and learn in a new African gallery at the Penn Museum—are presented in the gallery project.

Imagine Africa draws upon the Museum's extraordinary African collection, presenting objects framed around broad topics, from "Beauty" and "Strength," to "Healing," "Creating," and "The Divine." The gallery installation, set adjacent to the older African Gallery, invites the community to join in the discussion as the Museum develops long-range plans to re-envision this African Gallery for a 21st century audience.

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 select Wednesdays. The Museum is 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. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.

1:00 pm Women's Sekere Ensemble
1:15 pm Storytelling with Sarai Abdul-Malik
1:45 pm Come Experience the Rhythm Within Drumming Demo and Workshop
2:15 pm ODUNDE 365 Drumming Workshop
3:00 pm Storytelling with Sarai Abdul-Malik
2:30 pm Women's Sekere Ensemble
3:30 pm Dance to the Beat—You've Got to Move Your Feet Dance Workshop

Create-your-own African masks and kente cloth
Museum Shops

In the Pepper Mill Café - 1:00 to 3:30 pm
African and international menu items for purchase


Photos (top to bottom): Cachet Ivey performing. Ms. Ivey leads a dance workshop at this year's African Cultures Celebration on March 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Photo: Cachey Ivey; Sarai Abdul-Malik pictured during a riveting storytelling performance at the Penn Museum. She returns to this year's Celebration on March 2; Omomola Iyabumni (center right), director of the Women's Sekere Ensemble, performs with the Ensemble at this year's African Cultures Celebration; Visitors can tour the Penn Museum's African Gallery, one of the many activities during the Celebration on Saturday, March 2; Families can enjoy interactive opportunities in the Imagine Africa Gallery Project during the Celebration of African Cultures on March 2; Children and families can work together to create masks inspired by Africa, one of the many activities at this year's Celebration on March 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Photos: 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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