Unpacking the Past Program for Philadelphia's 7th graders at the Penn Museum

“In my experience, this is the best program and trip that I’ve ever taken students on.”

Charlene Jablow, Shawmont Elementary School

“I was completely impressed with the entire staff's depth and width of knowledge!”

Amanda Dunn, Girard Academics and Music Program

“I love that all of my students have an opportunity to essentially see the rest of the world at your museum.”

Justin Guida, Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences

Unpacking the Past connects Philadelphia’s Title I middle school classrooms studying ancient Egypt or ancient Rome with the world-renowned collections and teaching resources of the Penn Museum. All aspects of Unpacking the Past are FREE to teachers, students, and families.

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Program Information

Kids Learning

Part 1: Classroom Outreach Lesson


  • Experienced educators engage your students in a fun, hands-on lesson in your classroom
  • Students practice the skills of observation and inference – the same skills that archaeologists use to “unpack the past”
  • Students receive an overview of what to expect when they come to the Museum


Kids Learning

Part 2: Museum Trip and Workshop


  • Field trip participants ride to the Penn Museum in free buses
  • Programs are led by the same educators who visited the classroom
  • Students explore our Egypt or Rome galleries with a guided interactive tour, then participate in a classroom workshop on mummification or Roman archaeological excavations
  • All activities incorporate critical thinking and directly relate to the Common Core skills emphasized in 7th grade or the Low-Incidence curriculum for special needs education


Kids Learning

Part 3: Extend the Learning


  • All students and teachers receive a free one-year household membership to the Penn Museum
  • Middle school teachers can enjoy in-depth professional development opportunities.
  • Our educators can bring activities and artifacts to enhance your school events, such as Back to School nights or Report Card Conference days
  • Teachers can borrow an Artifact Loan Box for use in their classrooms
  • Teachers can bring their students back to the Museum for a second self-guiding trip (buses not included)


Extra Benefits!

  • Teachers: Unpacking the Past tote bag filled with school supplies
  • Students: Unpacking the Past cinch pack with some small souvenirs.
  • Teachers and Student Families: One-year Household Membership to the Penn Museum


Please book four to six weeks in advance of your desired dates.

Funding and Donor Recognition

Unpacking the Past is made possible through a generous lead grant awarded by GRoW Annenberg, a program of the Annenberg Foundation.

learning unpacking GRoW logo

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts .

learning unpacking GRoW logo

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

IMLS logo

Additional funding provided by the Women’s Committee of the Penn Museum, the Christopher Ludwick Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, NEAPECO and generous individual donors including the Estate of Ellen Cole Miller; the Estate of Neil C. Miller, Diane von Schlegell Levy and Robert M. Levy, WG74; Mrs. Louis Gerstley III, GM57; Marie A. Conn, Ph.D.; Barbara Rittenhouse; Jerry D. Levitt, M.D., C62, M66, FEL72, and Julie M. Levitt, Ph.D., C65; Mrs. Joel Bachman; and Donna Mackay, M.D. and Robert Mackay.


GRoW Annenberg Program Manager



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