Stuff. It fills our homes, offices, minds, and bodies. It can be defined as a collection of belongings, ideas, expertise, and much, much more. With roughly one million objects in our care, the Penn Museum is filled with great stuff. The 2018–2019 Great Lecture Series explores select objects and ideas housed within our Museum.
Number of Videos: 6
Julian Siggers, Williams Director Penn Museum The Penn Museum stewards nearly one million artifacts from around the world—in other words, the Museum has great stuff, and a lot of it. Williams Director Julian Siggers will explore some of his favorite objects from the Museum’s galleries and storage.
Brian I. Daniels, Director of Research and Programs, Penn Cultural Heritage Center All around the world, cultural heritage sites seem to be at great risk from conflict or other disasters. Due to recent cultural destruction in the Middle East and North Africa, there is perhaps more attention than ever before about the phenomenon of cultural loss. Recent examples are notorious. The Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. The Al-Askari Shrine in 2006. The libraries of Timbuktu in 2012. The Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo in 2013. The ruins of Nimrud in 2014. The ancient city of Palmyra in 2015. But not all losses are conflict-related. Fire destroyed the acclaimed National Museum of Brazil in 2018. How do we protect stuff from hazards? What can be done to ensure that cultural heritage is protected for the future? The Penn Museum is at the forefront of safeguarding cultural heritage in these situations, and Dr. Daniels will discuss its role and preservation successes.
Lynn Grant, Head Conservator In the Summer of 2018, the Lower Egyptian (Sphinx) Gallery was closed to the public. Why? What’s been happening with all the stuff in there since then? Head Conservator Lynn Grant will talk about the monumental – in every sense of the word – task of conserving the large architectural pieces for installation in the renewed Egyptian Galleries. See what’s been holding up the Sphinx for the last 92 years and learn how we’ll be dealing with the objects too large to leave the building.
Ann Brownlee, Associate Curator, Mediterranean Section The Penn Museum has been collecting "Great Stuff" for 130 years, and, from the start it has created Great Architecture to showcase its rich collections and to reflect rapidly changing thinking about object display. The story begins in the 1890s, when the Museum turned to a talented team of Philadelphia's young "Queen Anne" superstars-- Wilson Eyre, Frank Miles Day, Walter Cope, and John Stewardson--to create a master plan and begin construction of a vast new building that could never be filled and was never finished.
Katherine Moore, Mainwaring Teaching Specialist, Zooarchaeology Animal “stuff” in the Museum includes bones of animals dedicated as offerings, animal parts discarded as food, and animal parts made into ornaments and game pieces. Some of the oldest materials in the Museum are animal bones; hundreds of modern skeletons live in the CAAM labs at the Penn Museum. When archaeologists find bones, those bones can reveal the relationships that people have had with animals in ancient times. In this lecture, zooarchaeologist Katherine Moore will tell some of the most unexpected animal stories she has reconstructed while working on Penn Museum collections.
Lauren Ristvet, Dyson Associate Curator, Near East Section Cities. Buildings. Graves. Pottery. Animal Bones. Pollen. DNA. Oxygen molecules. The stuff of archaeology is changing rapidly, as are the questions we can ask and answer. How do archaeologists reconstruct past civilizations and ways of life? What new information can we expect in the future? Join Dr. Lauren Ristvet for an exploration of the new frontiers of the stuff of archaeology.