Penn Museum drawing new crowds to ancient artifacts

    The anthropology museum at the University of Pennsylvania will be opening a major exhibit next February about ancient Chinese trading routes, but it is not waiting until then to start drawing people in.

    The anthropology museum at the University of Pennsylvania will be opening a major exhibit next February about ancient Chinese trading routes, but it is not waiting until then to start drawing people in.

    The Secrets Of The Silk Road – opening next year – will feature artifacts from an ancient trade route that spanned from China to Italy. It allows the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archeology to touch on the wide variety of cultures along that road, like Turkey.

    In the museum garden, the group Seeds of Culture performs traditional Turkish music as part of a regular Wednesday happy hour. Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern music will come later this summer.

    It’s an effort by the traditionally research-driven museum to be more popular.

    Assistant director of special events, Tina Thomason, says the museum uses everything from tea parties to Harry Potter-days to draw patrons.

    “We’re reaching out to a new diverse crowd with the happy hour. They’re not our regular museum crowd, but it’s the after-work crowd. So we’ve extended hours in the gallery and they can get a drink along with it.”

    It’s a time of transition for the museum.  While it’s trying to lure new patrons, last year it eliminated 18 research positions, including those who organized archeological digs.

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