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Philadelphia Science Festival 2016

Penn Museum is a founding partner and a core collaborator of the annual Philadelphia Science Festival, running April 22 through 30, 2016.

Founded in 2011, the Festival is an innovative, nine-day celebration that explores the many ways that science and technology touch our everyday lives. A citywide collaboration, the Festival unites 200 of the region’s most influential institutions, museums and cultural centers in a common goal. We hope you will join us at one of the six events we are a part of this year, and explore the other 70+ events available throughout the Festival. Created, organized and led by The Franklin Institute and presented by The Dow Chemical Company, the annual Festival brings science to restaurants, parks, breweries, libraries, museums and other neighborhood places!

Find the Penn Museum at these Philadelphia Science Festival events around the city:

Discovery Day at Clark Park: Can Trees Be Calendars?

Saturday, April 23, 10 am to 2 pm
Clark Park, 4398 Chester Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

The Penn Museum joins with other science organizations for a free day of discovery at this West Philadelphia neighborhood park, where we ask: can trees be calendars? Discover how archaeologists use the patterns and number of tree rings to learn more about ancient settlements. Explore the science of archaeology hands on, as you uncover the age of trees through careful investigation of tree stumps with their own scales. Participants receive a rack card with a discount to visit The Golden Age of King Midas exhibition at the Penn Museum, where guests learn how archaeologists used tree ring dating, or dendrochronology, to date a Phrygian king’s royal tomb, the oldest known wooden structure in the world!

Explorer Sunday: Conservation Challenge

Sunday, April 24, 10 am to 1:30 pm
Penn Museum

The Penn Museum is one of several Science Festival collaborators inviting guests to participate in hands on science explorations. Find out what it takes to preserve archaeology’s greatest treasures, through a visit to the Artifact Lab. You’ll investigate the science of deterioration and preservation through conservation activities, while witnessing live conservation of ancient artifacts, including Egyptian funerary objects and mummies. Conservators are available to answer questions from 12:30 to 1:00 pm. Free with General Admission.

Fun with Kitchen Science

Sunday, April 24, 2 to 4:30 pm
Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA

Penn Museum joins the Franklin Institute at the Free Library for a look at the pivotal role science plays in the kitchen at this interactive, food-filled extravaganza for foodies of all ages. Penn Museum invites guests to discover some beyond-the-ordinary kitchen tools from the teaching collection—and puzzle out the function of each tool. Learn, too, how scientists deciphered the menu of a 2,700-year-old funerary feast fit for a king! Free.

Nerd Night: What Does it Mean to be Human?

Wednesday, April 27, 7:30 pm
Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

Paul Mitchell, research affiliate at the Penn Museum and Anthropology graduate student at the University, joins a panel of experts to consider the perennial question of what it means to be human at this Philadelphia Science Festival and Philly Nerd Nite event. Researchers take a scientific perspective to the question, looking at exciting developments in anthropology, morphology, psychology, neuroscience, and robotics, including brain enhancements, 3D organ printing, and how robots learn. With his expertise in human evolution, Paul Mitchell will take the long view making a case that culture is not a separate "feature" or "layer" of human beings, but rather a key component of our biology for hundreds of thousands of years; our biology and culture have co-evolved. Cost: $5. Reservations suggested.

Neighborhood Science Afterschool: How Do You Make a Mummy?

Wednesday, April 27, 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Greater Olney Library, 5501 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Stephen Phillips, Curatorial Research Coordinator, Egyptian Section, joins in this Neighborhood Science Afterschool program, offering an introduction to the history behind ancient Egyptian mortuary practices, with a look at how the mummification process developed through time, how mummies were actually made, and why Egypt’s mummies hold such a fascination in popular Western culture. Images of mummies, some found during his own archaeological excavations in Egypt, along with unpublished images of noteworthy ancient Egyptian royal mummies, are part of this free presentation.

Philadelphia Science Festival Carnival at Penn’s Landing

Saturday, April 30, 10 am to 4 pm
Penn’s Landing Great Plaza, Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA

The Carnival at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing features more than 175 exhibitors offering non-stop, family-friendly experiments, interactive activities, games, and a packed line-up of live entertainment. Penn Museum joins in with golden activities around the theme, Did Science Give Midas His Golden Touch? Discover what might have been behind the Midas and the Golden Touch myth through the investigation of minerals and textiles. Explore how chemistry was practiced thousands of years ago, and come away adorned with gold tattoos inspired by patterns and designs from The Golden Age of King Midas exhibition. Free.


Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director