University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Welcome to the Penn Museum blog. First launched in January 2009, the Museum blog now has over 800 posts covering a range of topics in the categories of Museum, Collection, Exhibitions, Research, and By Location. Here you’ll hear directly from our staff and Penn students about their work, research, experiences, and discoveries. To explore the Museum's other digital content, visit The Digital Penn Museum.


Anatomy of the Book: The Sunshade Chapel of Meritaten from the House-of-Waenre of Akhenaten

By: Page Selinsky

The quartzite architectural block E16230 is a rather unassuming large stone object that dates to ancient Egypt’s Amarna Period (ca. 1353-1336 BCE). Although it had once been part of a highly decorated, royal Sunshade chapel, it finished its pre-museum days as a threshold in a medieval building in Cairo. The block had sat in plain […]

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Decolonizing Museums: A Visit to the Tomaquag Museum

By: Stephanie Mach

In June of 2016, the Wampum Trail research team visited the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island. Our team consists of Project Director Dr. Margaret Bruchac and two graduate students in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, Lise Puyo and myself, as research assistants. Funding from the Penn Museum has enabled us to visit museums […]

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The Digital Penn Museum

By: Michael Condiff

The Digital Penn Museum has officially launched and is the culmination of multiple projects over what amounts to, after some reflection, almost the entirety of my seven years at 3260 South Street. None of these projects were full-time endeavors but steady, incremental progress over time allowed for it all to come together as a fantastic […]

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Happy 147th Birthday, Alexander Stirling Calder

By: Tom Stanley

January 11 marks the birthday of Alexander Stirling Calder, a man who left his indelible mark on the city of Philadelphia—and here at the Penn Museum, as well. To mark the occasion, Erin Gregory, a graduate student at the University of the Arts who interned in the Museum’s Marketing & Communications office last semester, wrote […]

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The “Idea Lounge”

By: Tom Stanley

The third floor of the Penn Museum is home to our smallest gallery, which we refer to simply as our Special Exhibitions Gallery. Despite its limited size (approx. 300 square feet), this gallery has hosted some fascinating exhibitions in recent years—most recently, a cross-cultural survey titled Sex: A History in 30 Objects. A new installation […]

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Sharing a Passion for Ancient Egypt, or Who Is as Smart as a Nine-Year-Old?

By: Pam Kosty

More than 23,000 people from around the world signed up to take Introduction to Ancient Egypt and Its Civilization, a free online class with Dr. David Silverman, Curator-in-Charge of the Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section, via Coursera. I am one of those 23,000 people. And now a confession: I started the class, but grew nervous about […]

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November 29, 1729: The Natchez Revolt

By: Megan Kassabaum

As a graduate student at the University of North Carolina, and now Weingarten Assistant Curator in the American Section of the Penn Museum, I have spent over a decade working on prehistoric Native American sites in the area surrounding Natchez, Mississippi. Many of you may have read about our recent work there in these previous […]

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Celebrating 50 Years of Professional Conservation at the Penn Museum

By: Nina Owczarek

The Conservation Department is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. The lab was first established in 1966 and is one of the first archaeology / anthropology conservation labs in the US staffed by professional conservators. In the early years, the focus was on conservation treatments. But under the leadership of Virginia Greene, who began working […]

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Worth the Wait – Michael Freeman

By: Anne Tiballi

Apollonia Pontica was a 7th century Greek colony dedicated to Apollo. The well-placed port town, located on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Bulgaria, would stand through Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman times until it was ultimately rechristened “Sozopol” during the Christian era, meaning “The City of Salvation” in Greek. The Milesians who laid the foundations […]

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A New View of Laventille, Trinidad – Leniqueca Welcome

By: Anne Tiballi

With funding from the Penn Museum, this summer I was able to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic situated off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, to conduct anthropological pre-dissertation field research in an area popularly called Laventille. Laventille is now infamous among Trinbagonians as it has been labelled one of the country’s […]

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