3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 - United States
Museum Day Hours of Operation: 10:00 am ‐ 5:00 pm
Take a day and transform your perspective on the world, with a visit to the internationally renowned Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology). Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum is dedicated to the ongoing exploration of the history of humankind, and with it, a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and our shared cultural heritage. In its 125-plus year history, the Museum has sent more than 350 research expeditions around the world and collected nearly one million objects from every inhabited continent.
Three gallery floors feature art and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, North and Central America, Asia, Africa, and the ancient Mediterranean World. Special exhibitions drawn both from the Museum’s own collections and brought in on loan enrich the gallery offerings.
Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq
This exhibition sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East by showing what’s at stake—the rich history of the region and the diversity of its people—and what’s being done to prevent the loss of this history and cultural identity. Fascinating ancient art and artifacts from the Penn Museum’s extensive Near East collection tell stories of the cultures of Syria and Iraq through time. Contemporary artwork from Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist based in Cambridge, UK, provides an art intervention—a modern-day response to the artifacts and themes. The exhibition features the important work being done by the University of Pennsylvania and Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with individuals and groups in the Middle East to help combat the loss of irreplaceable cultural heritage.
Moundbuilders: Ancient Architects of North America
You might be familiar with some of the more famous monuments around the globe—the Great Pyramids in Egypt; Stonehenge in England; Machu Picchu in Peru. But did you know we have our own impressive monuments right here in the United States? Some even older than the pyramids, these spectacular earthworks give us glimpses into more than 5,000 years of Native North American history. Moundbuilders explores the fascinating story of Native American moundbuilding through a variety of photographs, artifacts, archival materials, and excavation records.
The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action
Part exhibition, and part working laboratory, a glass-enclosed conservation lab brings you right into a museum conservator’s world. See the tools of the trade and watch as conservators work on a wide array of artifacts being prepared for exhibit in the Museum’s signature galleries. Enjoy this unique opportunity to follow conservators as they protect, restore, and preserve pieces of human history in this 2,000 square foot exhibition.
Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now
Leave preconceptions behind and discover a living tapestry of Nations with distinct stories, histories, and identities. In this interactive exhibition, visitors learn about contemporary issues in Native America. Set against the backdrop of more than 200 objects from the Museum’s expansive collections from the United States and Canada, the exhibition challenges stereotypes and tells powerful stories of Native American successes in achieving independence as sovereign, self-governing Nations. At multimedia stations, visitors will experience audio and video clips of contemporary Native Americans speaking of the many ways in which they maintain their religious, political, linguistic, and artistic independence.
This venue will accept your Museum Day Live! ticket on the screen of your smartphone and in person.
Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.