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Global Guides

What better way to learn about the culture of another place than to speak to someone who grew up there? Through the Global Guides Program, the Museum offers gallery tours led by immigrants and refugees. In addition to sharing historical information about the artifacts on display, the guides combine personal experiences and stories to interpret objects from their countries of origin. Visitors meet for these tours in the Main Entrance on the Main Floor, behind the Sphinx.

Global Guides will present tours and enrichment programs for the following galleries

  • Middle East Galleries
  • NEW! Africa Galleries
  • NEW! Mexico and Central America Gallery

Join the guides for the following tour programs:

Public Global Guides Tours
Global Guide public gallery tours are offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. View the Events Calendar for tour times. These tours are free with Museum admission and there is no need for advance reservations. View the schedule below for details. Additional public tours and experiences throughout the summer are listed on our tours page.
Group Global Guides Tours
Private Global Guide tours of the Middle East Galleries can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more. Discounted group rates are available. Tours are also available in the Guides' native languages: Middle East Galleries tours in Arabic, Africa Galleries tours in French, and Mexico and Central America in Spanish. To schedule a tour (allow at least two weeks advance notice), visitors can contact Amanda Grady, Group Sales Manager, at 215.746.8183 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Global Guides Program has been internationally recognized through presentations at numerous museum conferences, including the American Alliance of Museums, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums, and the American Association of State and Local History. Additionally, articles about this program have been features in Museum magazine, Hyperallergic, and by the Associated Press in dozens of publications around the world.

Meet the Global Guides

Democratic Republic of the Congo

clay katongo

Clay Katongo

Africa Galleries

Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and a resident there for more than 30 years, Clay Katongois a graduate of the Alliance Theological Seminary in New York. Serving as a pastor, Bible College teacher, conference speaker, and lecturer in the field of World Religions and Christian world missions, his pastoral ministry led him to Pointe Noire, the second largest city in Congo Brazzaville, along with Portugal, Belgium, France, and Canada before he settled in the United States. Acquainted with African traditions and religions, and deeply immersed in his original DRC and Angolan culture, heritage, tradition, and language, he emphasizes immigration and multicultural diversity awareness, along with the willingness to overcome barriers such as language and appearances, to share stories and learn from others.

selemani Sikasabwa

Selemani Sikasabwa

Africa Galleries

Born in a small village called Lweba,located in the territory of Fizi, a province of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Selemani Sikasabwa was forced to leave his home country during the civil war. In 1996, he fled to Tanzania, where he lived for 19 years. During his time in Tanzania, he graduated from high school; joined the Institut Biblique International et Evangelique de Nundu Bible School; and obtained a diploma in the Biblical Studies in 2014. He also worked with the World Vision Tanzania by serving refugees and other surrounding communities. Through this experience, he learned several cultural traditions and histories from the diverse individuals helped through World Vision. Currently, he works with the Nationalities Services Center as a Swahili, French, and Lingala interpreter for newly resettled immigrants in Philadelphia.

Guatemala

celeste diaz

Celeste Diaz

Mexico and Central America Gallery

Celeste Diazand her family traveled back and forth between their native Guatemala and Texas, before permanently settling in Houston in 2001. As a daughter of immigrants, Celeste’s Guatemalan culture was always celebrated and passed down in her home through her family. She has always held an immense pride for her country and a passion for teaching others about her culture. This led her to found Istmo y Vos, a new Central American cultural student group at the University of Pennsylvania, through which she taught others about Central America’s culture, history, and current issues. After graduating from Penn with a degree in Sociology and minor in Urban Education, Celeste decided to stay in Philadelphia and make it her new home. Her education interests led her to the Penn Museum, where she hopes to continue to spread her love for her country and people.

Iraq

yaroub al-obaidi

Yaroub Al-Obaidi

Middle East Galleries

Born in Iraq, Yaroub Al-Obaidihas lived in Philadelphia since June 2016. He has worked as a designer, researcher, author, and also lectured at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad from 2004 to 2007. For five years, he worked as a community leader organizing between the Iraqi community and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). He was inspired to work at the Penn Museum because he feels that history and archaeology shed light on our ancestors. As an artist and designer, he loves the visual arts and is always considering the past and present to build a stronger future. He holds an M.A. in Design from the University of Baghdad, recently earned an M.A. in Socially Engaged Art from Moore College of Art and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Science Malaysia.

abdulhadi al-karfawi

Abdulhadi Al-Karfawi

Middle East Galleries

Abdulhadi Al-Karfawirecently movedwith his family from Iraq to the U.S. His previous employment with the United Nations mission in Iraq provided him with extensive opportunities to help people. Abdulhadi has always been interested in ancient settlements, and his deep love of history led him to visit many of the archaeological sites in Iraq. This gave him tremendous motivation to work with Penn Museum as a Global Guide. His accumulated personal experiences enable him to reflect and share memories with visitors and folks who are curious about the past. He holds a B.A. in Geography from the University of Baghdad.

Mexico

abraham sandoval iniguez

Abraham Sandoval Iniguez

Mexico and Central America Gallery

Born in San Martin de Bolanos, Jalisco, a municipality slightly north of Guadalajara, Abraham Sandoval Iniguez spent much of his childhood in this region before moving to San Jose, California. There, he developed his English skills adjacent to Spanish as he was submerged in a Mexican-American community. Maintaining a strong connection to his culture, he later moved to central Pennsylvania and began to establish his professional identity. He began working with activist organizations speaking on behalf of Harrisburg’s Mexican and Central American migrant communities. This newfound passion led him the University of Pennsylvania, where he majors in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a concentration in Ethics and the Professions and a minor in American Public Policy. He plans to attend law school to address the injustices plaguing the Mexican migrant communities in the U.S. and the indigenous people of Mexico.

carlos jose perez samano

Carlos José Pérez Sámano

Mexico and Central America Gallery

Bornin Mexico City, Carlos José Pérez Sámanois part of the “Earthquake Generation,” a generation of people living in Mexico known for their resilience and commitment to helping others, as a result ofa 1985 earthquake that caused major destruction and casualties.Carlos began his work in marketing for a transnational company but he exited this job for new opportunity building rural schools in East Africa, where he learned to speak Swahili. After living in Tanzania, he founded Experiex Trips, a social enterprise that changes the way people xperience cultures through immersion trips. Carlos is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mexican Global Network,a network of talented Mexicans in diaspora with more than 6,000 members worldwide. An expert storyteller with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and an M.A. in Publishing, Carlos is the author of four books and a contributor to numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Learn more at perezsamano.com.

Syria

moumena saradar

Moumena Saradar

Middle East Galleries

Originally from Syria,Moumena Saradaris aprofessional medical interpreter in Arabic, working with newly resettled immigrants for several interpreting agencies in Philadelphia. In addition, she has translated their stories as a part of the recent Photo Voice project at Jefferson University. Her travels to several countries in Asia and Africa—and her experiences viewing popular Egyptian monuments motivated her to share her cultural understanding as a Global Guide at the Penn Museum.Her greatestpassion is spending time with her five kids. She also enjoys reading Americanadventure tales and swimming. She holds an Associate’sDegree in Laboratory Sciences from University of Damascus.


Funding Recognition

The Global Guides: Immigrant Stories Tour Program was made possible by the generosity of the Barra Foundation.

barra foundation logo


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