Photo of the Penn Museum from the Philadelphia Visitor Center Corporation’s website.
Upcoming Events at the Penn Museum
By Erin Schott
Note: Images in the body of this article come from the Penn Museum website. You can learn about even more events here!
For any Philadelphian interested in history, the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology offers a plethora of artifacts and exhibits. Among other treasures, it houses the largest Sphinx in the Western hemisphere and the headdress of Queen Puabi from the royal tombs of Ur. The Museum hosts events that allow people of all ages to learn about the collections while enjoying themselves. Here are a handful of in-person and virtual events that the Museum is offering in the coming months. We encourage kids and adults alike to attend these events to learn more about both ancient history and current events.
Archaeology in Action: Excavating the Royal City of Midas
Time: Wednesday, December 6, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Best for adults who want to learn more about the historical King Midas.
Often, we use the word “myth” to refer to things that are entirely made up, but Professor Rose’s excavations at the Troy and Gordion demonstrate that sometimes myths have their origins in historical events. In this virtual lecture, Professor Rose will focus on his archaeological work at Gordion, a city ruled by the legendary King Midas, and the origin of the phrase cutting the Gordian knot. He will discuss the monumental tumuli or mound tombs that decorate the countryside as well as his work over the past two years uncovering the citadel gate and getting the site recognized by UNESCO. Professor Rose offers a Penn course on Troy and Gordion (it’s amazing!), but if you don’t have the time to commit to a semester, ninety minutes is a great way to learn more about excavating. You can register for the virtual talk here!
Penn Cultural Heritage Center Lecture: Cultural Rights, Heritage Destruction, and the Future of Ukraine
Time: Thursday, December 7, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Best for adults looking to learn more about how they can help preserve Ukraine’s history.
This event offered both online and in person, will discuss the damage and threats to Ukrainian material culture in the wake of Russia’s invasion. For example, UNESCO has labeled the Saint Sophia cathedral in Kyiv as at risk of destruction “due to threats linked to shelling.” The program at the Penn Museum will start with a presentation both on threats to cultural heritage like the cathedral and also on the professionals working in Ukraine to document important material culture. Afterward, there will be a round-table discussion with Ukrainian museum directors to discuss how American museums can help address the issue.
Time: December 26 to 28, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Best for kids wanting to have fun over winter break
For parents wondering how to make winter break exciting for children, the Penn Museum has some great events to pass the time. From December 26 to 28, the Asia Gallery will host a mythical animal puppet-making event for kids interested in combining art and mythology. Meanwhile, the Sphinx Gallery will have a series of Mancala boards set up for friendly competition. Both of these stations will run from 10 am to 4 pm. The museum will also have daily dig and storytime sessions at 1 pm and 2 pm. Pegasus puppets and archaeology, what’s not to love?
Up Late with the Sphinx
Time: Saturday, Jan. 13; Saturday, March 2 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Best for kids who love to stay up past bedtime
Flying to Egypt is expensive, but you don’t have to travel that far to see a huge sphinx. The “Up Late with the Sphinx” event is catered to children, particularly those ages six to twelve. The nighttime event will include games and a workshop so that kids can take something special home to remember the experience. The night will end with a flashlight tour through the museum. For any Ben Stiller fans out there, this is about as close as you’ll get to living out your Night at the Museum fantasies.
Erin Schott is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Classical Studies and English. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Discentes.
“Events Calendar.” Penn Museum. Accessed November 1, 2023. https://www.penn.museum/calendar/list.events/-?start=15#events.