November 7, 2011 |
No tiptoeing Saturday-evening spiders had disturbed the dominoes, no rumbling trucks passing in the dark. "Nothing overnight," Steve Perrucci said. "The mice were kind, the spiders. " But early Sunday afternoon, a 2-year-old boy dropped a ball no bigger than a cough drop and knocked over a short line of Perrucci's dominoes. Quickly repaired, the line was made upright. And so at 3 p.m. Sunday, about 100 folks clustered around a maze of, yes, 10,000 dominoes on the third-floor rotunda of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
January 31, 2016 |
When David P. Silverman translated mystical writings on the side of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian coffin recently, he discovered a plea to the earth god, Geb. The long-ago writer sought protection for the coffin's inhabitant, a district governor named Ahanakht. But these days, the words could just as easily mean protection from the trembling earth next door. University City is the site of yet another construction project. This time, it's the demolition of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Tower complex, in order to make way for a new patient pavilion.
September 7, 2012 |
Following a scientific analysis that suggested its collection of ancient, Trojan-style gold jewelry was looted from northwestern Turkey, the University of Pennsylvania announced this week that it had lent the 24 items to that country for an indefinite period. In exchange, the Turkish government pledged to lend other artifacts for a one-year exhibit at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, including priceless items from Gordion, seat of power of King Midas. The country also promised support for ongoing excavations by Penn scholars within its borders.
August 23, 2013 |
GILLIAN WAKELY grew up in England, where her parents' idea of a fun time was to visit a museum. When she arrived in America, she came upon a photograph in an art-history book of the "Ram in a Thicket. " The anthropologically hip know of it as an exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. It's the statue of a ram (more likely a goat) dug up in 1928 in the Royal Tombs of Ur in southern Iraq. Gillian knew about the 4,000-year-old figure because it was one of two found in Ur. The other was in the British Museum in London.
February 19, 2015 |
When Dave Schwartz was a boy, his father was constantly in the hospital, and his mother would drop him at the Penn Museum while she visited her husband. Beginning in 1961, when he was 8, Schwartz spent years among the mummies, the giant sphinx, and other antiquities. "I'm kind of a museum orphan," he says now, at age 61. "I literally grew up in that museum. " One day, he was tracing hieroglyphs on a 10-foot-tall Mayan limestone monument - his sketches spread all over the floor of the Mesoamerican Gallery - when an older man in a suit stopped and asked the boy what he was doing.
December 3, 2012 |
It's all about the story. Each item in the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology - each statue, pitcher, mummy, mosaic, and sphinx - comes with one. The story of how it got here - "you won't find a museum comparable to it anywhere," in the words of new director Julian Siggers. The story of how it was found. "Much of the time, you're digging in the wrong place," says C. Brian Rose, curator of the Mediterranean section and a man who has done his share of digging. "When you find the right place, it's exciting.
April 13, 2015 |
It would be hard for any real-life archaeologist to match the fictional Indiana Jones, but Julian Siggers gives it a good run. Siggers, 50, director of the Penn Museum since July 2012, may not crack a bullwhip or sport a battered fedora, but he does have a fondness for motorcycles and tattoos. He's also handsome, charming, and possessed of an impressive academic pedigree, including a doctorate from the University of Toronto in Near Eastern prehistoric archaeology. Born in England and educated at University College London, he came to Penn from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where he was vice president for programs, education, and content communication.
September 16, 2011 |
Walk through one door at the Penn Museum this weekend and you'll feel as if you've strolled into a before-and-after advertisement. Near the door is the museum's African exhibit - a cluster of tall glass cases filled when W. Wilson Goode was Philadelphia's mayor. About 350 artifacts are on display - a driblet of the museum's stash of 42,000 Egyptian objects and 20,000 objects from elsewhere in Africa. On the other side of the wall is the new "Imagine Africa" exhibit, stuffed into a corridor.
March 20, 2015 |
Talon Bazille Ducheneaux, 22, sits in a conference room at the University of Pennsylvania's Greenfield Intercultural Center. Born and raised in South Dakota, he identifies as Lakota and Dakota. He remembers that, in his boyhood classrooms, "they start indigenous history at 1492. " But Ducheneaux is writing his full history, in rap. On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (which, fittingly enough, was built on Lenape land) will present "Modern Native Voices: The Medium of Hip Hop New Music with a Distinctly Native Beat.
January 19, 2015 |
Matt Gay, a mount maker at the Penn Museum, was standing in front of a display case filled with gold objects, when the sun streaked through a gallery window. "It was amazing," he said Saturday at the museum. "It was 3 in the afternoon, the shades were up in here, and the sun came through and hit that bead. It was like an intense light, an LED blazing. " Gold does that sometimes. Gay was at work helping install the museum's big 2015 exhibition, "Beneath the Surface: Life, Death, and Gold in Ancient Panama," which opens Feb. 7. He was doing what he always does, unobtrusively setting delicate artifacts into unlikely positions.