University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

At the 37th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration
Saturday, January 27, 2018

1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

People born the year of the Dog have a strong sense of justice. They are brave, forthright, friendly, and like righting wrongs. Loyal and honest, they have a strong sense of duty, and they are good working partners. They are fiercely loyal to those they love.

from The Chinese Zodiac
Chinese dragon

PHILADELPHIA, PA 2018–Get ready to call in the Year of the Dog at the Penn Museum’s 37th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, January 27, 2018, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The family-friendly day features traditional Chinese music and dance, contemporary Asian film, tangram workshops, tai chi and kung fu martial arts demonstrations, storytelling, calligraphy, family crafts, a Year of the Dog Photo Contest, and much more—closing with the grand finale drums and the roar of the lion dance and parade. Activities are held in the Museum’s Rotunda, which houses one of the finest collections of monumental Chinese art in the country, and throughout the international galleries of the Museum.

The Chinese New Year Celebration, one of Philadelphia’s oldest, is free with Museum admission donation ($15 general admission; $13 seniors [65+]; $10 children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders (up to four family members per card); free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders).

A Dog Photo Contest and Other Year of the Dog Activities

Do you have the best dog ever? To celebrate the Year of the Dog, the Museum is hosting a Year of the Dog Photo Contest on Instagram! To enter, participants post their best dog photo, now through January 22, 2018, tagging @pennmuseum and using the hashtag #YearOfTheDog, being sure to include their dog’s name and New Year’s resolution. The original photos (no submissions of other people’s work) will be judged based on quality and creativity of overall submission. Local Instagram celebrity Albert Lee (@urphillypal) is the first-round judge, selecting up to nine favorites. Attendees at the Celebration will vote for their favorite finalist, with prizes for the top winners—and their dogs! Contest rules are online.

Other Year of the Dog activities abound. Nancy Steinhardt, Curator of Asian Art at the Penn Museum, offers a short, illustrated talk, “ Dogs in Chinese Art,” to celebrate the year. Throughout the day, guests will have an opportunity to take a scavenger hunt around the Museum, finding dog-related objects in the galleries. All guests can celebrate their own year on the Chinese zodiac, at a zodiac animal selfie station. New Leash on Life, a non-profit prison dog-training program that saves the lives of shelter dogs at-risk of euthanasia and gives incarcerated inmates a chance for redemption, will be on hand to talk about their program.

A Celebration of Museum and Arts, Culture and Film

Chinese for Families, a local language school, joins with a program for all ages. Guests will meet some of the Chinese for Families young students and learn about Chinese New Year, the Chinese Zodiac, and Chinese language and archaeology through short films and interactive games.

More than 20 young dancers, aged 9 to 17, from the Great Wall Chinese School Little Mulan Troupe, perform traditional dances, while Michele Belluomini of Blue Deer Storytelling offers up three tales for guests to enjoy: The Dog’s Tale, The Empty Pot, and Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain.

Master Chef Joseph Poon, known for his Wok 'N Walk Tours of Philadelphia's historic Chinatown, offers a vegetable carving demonstration, seasoned with humor.

Chinese painting instructor Onlei Annie Jung leads a drop-in hinese calligraphy class, and offers a separate workshop about the seven tans of the tangram, an ancient Chinese puzzle game believed to have been invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and introduced in Europe in the early 19th century.

Sifu John Chen and his students from the Ba'z Tai Chi and Kung Fu Studio offer an interactive Tai Chi workshop, and members of the Greater Philadelphia Falun Dafa Association offer a demonstration of Falun Gong.

With a focus on Chinese Music: East verses West, local musician and instructor Kurt Jung and Qin Qian perform modern and traditional Chinese melodies on the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle) and the yangchin (Chinese hammered dulcimer). Mr. Jung discusses the role of music in ancient Chinese society.

The Philadelphia Asian Film Festival (PAAFF) presents a short film, “Tailored to Fit,” directed by Xin Lee. A young immigrant filmmaker who discovers a generation gap as she explores her love-hate relationship with China’s iconic Qipao dress. PAAFF is a volunteer-run nonprofit film festival working to celebrate and elevate the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience through cinema.

Throughout the day, a Chinese Art Marketplace provides activities for families, including a calligraphy station, a dog-related craft station, information on Chinese medicinal herbs and traditions, and shopping opportunities with local vendors. Asian Arts Initiative will be tabling the event throughout the day offering an opportunity for museum guests to learn more about their diverse programming. Asian Arts Initiative advances racial equity and understanding, activates artists, youth, and their communities through creative practice and dialogue grounded in the diverse Asian American experience.

The Pepper Mill Café joins the festivities by offering a selection of Chinese lunch entrées and kid-friendly foods.

Drum Roll and a Roar: A Grand Finale

Members of Cheung's Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy offer a dynamic, Shaolin-style Kung Fu demonstration at 2:45 pm, then treat visitors to the sharp footwork and pulsating drums of a spectacular Grand Finale Lion Dance at 3:45 pm to chase away evil and usher in good luck for the year.

About Chinese New Year

Based on the changing lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is celebrated on a different day each year; in 2018, the official date is February 16 (Penn Museum gets an early jump on the festivities). Traditional Chinese element theory assigns one of five elements to each year of every zodiac sign: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth, and in 2018, Earth is the element associated with this Year of the Dog.

About the China Gallery

In the Penn Museum’s China gallery, guests can explore extraordinary artistic achievements of the Chinese people through artifacts including jade and coral figurines, bronze vessels, monumental stone sculptures, and glazed pottery. Also on view, the Museum's distinctive 19th-century crystal ball—the centerpiece of the rotunda—as well as renowned Chinese Buddhist sculptures.

About the World Culture Series

The Celebration is part of the Museum’s popular World Culture Day series (which continues with a Celebration of African Cultures in February, Egyptomania in March, and a Jamaica Day celebration in June.) Families can pick up a “Passport to Cultures” brochure upon arrival, or bring one they’ve started, and collect stamps to earn an invitation to a special Penn Museum Junior Anthropologist ceremony.

Schedule for the Day: Timed Activities

11:00 am Learn about the Zodiac with Chinese for Families
11:00 am Year of the Dog Temporary Tattoo Station
11:30 am Calligraphy Workshop
11:30 am - 1:00 pm Joseph Poon Vegetable Carving Demonstration
12:00 pm Dance Performance by Great Wall Chinese School Little Mulan Troupe
12:00 pm Falun Gong Demonstration
12:30 pm Chinese Music- East vs. West
1:00 pm Film Screening: Tailored To Fit
1:00 pm Tai Chi Demonstration
1:30 pm Chinese Storytelling
2:00 pm Chinese Music- East vs. West
2:00 pm Tangram Workshop
2:30 pm Dogs in Chinese Art: Illustrated Talk by Dr. Nancy Steinhardt
2:45 pm Kung Fu Demonstration
3:45 pm Lion Dance Finale by Cheung's Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy

Throughout the Day:

Chinese Marketplace in the Rotunda
Calligraphy Demonstration
Medicinal herbs station
Year of the Dog Photo Contest—vote for the winners!
New Leash on Life information station
Asian Arts Initiative
Craft station with Year of Dog related crafts
Scavenger hunt: Discover dog-related objects in the galleries
Zodiac animal photo opportunities

About the Penn Museum

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. Admission donation is $15 for adults; $13 for senior citizens (65 and above); free for U.S. Military; $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 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.

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