PHILADELPHIA, PA, May 2013—With 887 videos and growing, the Penn Museum's YouTube channel offers a trip back in time and around the world—and the diverse, eclectic channel, which premiered in May 2008, is drawing an international viewership, recently surpassing the 1,000,000 video views mark.
Featuring archaeological excavation footage, early travelogues, rare preserved episodes of the 1950s television series "What in the World?"—as well as a large and growing number of lectures, promotional shorts, and behind-the-scenes museum activities—the Penn Museum's YouTube channel offers viewers a mix of recent educational programming and unique primary source visual material about cultures and peoples.
Thanks to a collaboration with the Internet Archive, the majority of the Museum's rare and often fragile early archival footage, once largely inaccessible, was digitized in 2008, and makes up much of the channel's offerings.
The Watson Kintner collection of nearly 400 travelogues (available to view in two Playlists) forms the largest portion of the archival footage. A University of Pennsylvania graduate with a penchant for travel, Watson Kintner visited more than 30 countries from 1933 until 1969, recording daily life and work among the people he visited, in places like Mexico, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Australia, Iran, and Ethiopia. The Arthur and Kate Tode Collection, with 60 videos, forms another extensive travelogue series set back in time. There are also some expedition videos from sites where the Penn Museum has worked over the decades, including Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in Honduras.
"Since we've been able to post these early films, we've seen how they have been shared among people of international communities as a source of visual history and heritage," noted Kate Pourshariati, Film Archivist. "We've been connecting with researchers and filmmakers who have referred to the footage for material culture and folkways. We've even begun an occasional film series, Live from the Archives!, in which we screen films that have been made using our archival footage collections."
The channel's viewership is as diverse as the programming, with viewers from more than 200 countries and territories around the globe.
Also on the YouTube channel, several episodes from the Penn Museum's Peabody Award-winning 1950s television show, What in the World?, can be viewed. Then Museum Director Froelich Rainey hosted the popular program, which brought together diverse and renowned experts—including actor Vincent Price—to guess the origins of artifacts from the Museum's collections. More recently, contemporary artist Pablo Helguera, inspired by the original series, created his own "What in the World?" exhibition and video footage, available to view on the YouTube channel as well.
Other "gems" can be found on the channel: some of the earliest color footage of Machu Picchu in Peru; award-winning Tlingit basket weaver Teri Rofkar explores the collection; a short educational video puts the Penn Museum's famous Royal Tombs of Ur excavations into context; and actor and comedian CJ Jones presents a Highlights of the Galleries Tour in 26 sign language videos that are viewable online.
In recent years, the Penn Museum has created videos for use in exhibitions, to enhance the exhibition experience, or to promote exhibitions, from MAYA 2012: Lords of Time to Secrets of the Silk Road to Imagine Africa. For those who miss the Museum's many talks and lecture series, more and more are finding their way onto the Youtube channel.
Penn Museum (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 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. Closed Mondays and holidays. Admission donation is $12 for adults; $10 for senior citizens (65 and above) and active U.S. Military; $8 for children (6 to 17) and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger. Beginning July 1: admission donation is $15 adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military (and free for military families over the summer, through participation with the Blue Star program); $10 for children and full-time students with ID; free to Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.
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.