The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was founded on December 6, 1887, making today the museum’s 125th anniversary. To celebrate, the museum is flinging open its doors and offering free admission all day today from 10am to 10pm.
Throughout the day museum staff – from curators and conservators to archaeologists and archivists – will be on hand to meet the public and discuss their work and the museum’s extensive collection of antiquities. You’ll be able to see conservators working on Egyptian mummies in the new Artifacts Lab, interact with Mayan artifacts, and at night Penn grad students will lead flashlight tours of the Egyptian and Mediterranean galleries.
As The New York Times reported this week, the Penn Museum is seeking new ways to broaden its appeal, become more accessible, attract more visitors, and use its extraordinary collection of artifacts to explore contemporary issues and cross-cultural connections. Among the important efforts underway is building a digital archive (so far including images and information about 665,000 objects) of the museum’s collection.
The museum’s new director, Dr. Julian Siggers, told the Times that he hopes to give people a deeper appreciation for world history and cultures through exposure to the museum’s collection. “It can make you change the way you view the world,” he said. “It’s a lofty ambition, but that’s the goal.”
Read more about the Penn Museum’s 125th anniversary:
- Come in to Penn Museum for stories ancient and fresh [Inquirer, 12/3/12]
- A Museum Full of Antiquities Embraces Modernity [New York Times, 12/5/12]