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Opening Day Celebration for World Premiere The Golden Age of King Midas

Opening Day Celebration for World Premiere The Golden Age of King Midas Offers Immersive Experience into Ancient Past at the Penn Museum
Saturday, February 13, 2016


The Golden Age of King Midas

Penn Museum opens the world premiere exhibition The Golden Age of King Midas—featuring ancient treasures on loan from the Republic of Turkey—with a spectacular day-long public celebration Saturday, February 13, 10 am to 4:00 pm, free with general Museum admission: $15 adults; $13 senior citizens 65 and over; $10 children 6 to 17 and full time students with ID; free for Museum members, active military, children 5 and younger, and PennCard holders. (Admission to the special exhibition is an additional $5, free to Museum members, children 5 and younger, and PennCard holders).


Enter the World of King Midas

The reign of King Midas was a golden age for his capital city of Gordion and for the Phrygian kingdom that he ruled. For 65 years the Penn Museum has been excavating Gordion, located in central Turkey, unearthing the artifacts and stories, that bring that ancient world to life. Guests to the opening celebration are treated to a Phrygian fashion review with costumes flown direct from Turkey, traditional Turkish music and music in the “Phrygian mode” from the group David’s Harp, short lectures by Gordion scholars and the exhibition curator, and pop up mini-talks by Penn graduate students. A host of family-friendly activities are part of the celebration, including storytelling—featuring the timeless tale of King Midas and his golden touch—a pebble mosaic craft (Gordion boasts the oldest pebble mosaic in the world, a large section of which is in the new exhibition), a “Gordian Knot” making and cutting table (a bow to another Gordion story of another era), and even a Golden Touch tattoo station.

A special experience awaits guests at the opening weekend only: Penn Museum’s third floor Pepper Hall will be transformed into a Kervansaray-inspired oasis reminiscent of the Turkish Kervansaray, or roadside inns, that offered travelers a place to recover from a day’s journey, and supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the Silk Road. Visitors to the Museum will be able to travel back in time to the Ottoman Empire as they wonder through and rest among ikats and other textiles from the Silk Road, hand knotted carpets from Turkey, hand-crafted copper pots and metal trays, tiles and plates, ottomans covered with Turkish kilims, hand knotted saddle and camel bags from the region, and traditional tent decorations. This special experience is made possible courtesy of Material Culture, a Philadelphia purveyor of antiques and collectibles from around the world.

An East-West Cutting of the Gordian Knot

The exhibition opens with fanfare at 11:00 am, as representatives of the Republic of Turkey join Penn Museum Director Julian Siggers, Exhibition Curator Brian Rose, and Exhibition team members for a symbolic cutting of the “Gordian Knot,” the official opening of the new show.

The King’s Schedule

11:00 am Cutting of the Gordian Knot, and Exhibition Opening
11:30 am Curator’s Lecture: "Recent Fieldwork at Gordion, Royal CIty of Midas” Dr. C. Brian Rose, Exhibition Curator and Gordion Project Director
12:00 pm Phrygian Fashion Review (Models walk through galleries)
12:30 pm Storytime: King Midas and the Golden Touch
1:00 pm Lecture: "Ancient Gordion, Modern Landscape" Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Deputy Director, Gordion Project, and Anthropologist and Archaeologist
3:00 pm David’s Harp: Phrygian Mode and Traditional Turkish Music
3:30 pm Lecture: "Exploring the City of Midas: The Penn Museum Gordion Project" Gareth Darbyshire, Gordion Archivist


Kervansaray-inspired oasis

Craft: Make a pebble mosaic

Knotty Activity: Make Knots; Cut the Gordian Knot (like Alexander the Great)

Golden Touch Tattoos

Pop-Up mini talks by Penn graduate students

In the Pepper Mill Café

Turkish-inspired lunch menu and apple tea available for purchase.

In the Museum Shop

Discover an assortment of Turkish gifts and exhibition-inspired mementos for purchase.

The 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 300 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.

The 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 through Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and first Wednesdays of each month until 8:00 pm, with P.M. @ PENN MUSEUM evening programs offered. Closed Mondays and holidays.

Hot and cold meals and light refreshments are offered to visitors with or without Museum admission in The Pepper Mill Café; the Museum Shop offers a wide selection of gifts, books, games, clothing and jewelry. Penn Museum can be found on the web at For general information call 215.898.4000. For group tour information call 215.746.8183.


Jill DiSanto, Public Relations Director