- University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
name= University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
caption= Facade of the main entrance to the museum
location= 3260 South St.,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United Statesflagicon|USA
website= [http://www.museum.upenn.edu/ University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology website]
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology is an
archaeologyand anthropologymuseum that is part of the University of Pennsylvaniain University City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Penn Museum or University Museum, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1887. During the early 20th century, the UPM conducted some of the first and most important archaeological and anthropological expeditions to Egypt, Mesopotamia, Africa, East Asia and South America. The UPM's current collections reflect the successes of these early expeditions. The Museum's name has subtly shifted over time. Until the 1990s it was known cumbersomely as The University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania, and was generally referred to as The University Museum. [cite news | last=Horn | first=Patricia | title=A Penn Treasure Plays Name that Tomb | date=11 August 2005 | publisher=The Philadelphia Inquirer | url=http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/business/12352797.htm]
The Museum is housed in a Beaux Arts building that is one of the landmarks of the University of Pennsylvania campus. The existing original building (onto which have been grafted several later additions) is actually only approximately one-third of an ambitious design that would have created one of the largest museum buildings in the United States. Features of the extant building include a dramatic
rotundaand gardens that include Egyptian papyrus. The University Museum was designed by a team of Philadelphia architects, all of whom taught on the faculty of the University: Wilson Eyre, Cope & Stewardsonand Frank Miles Day. The first phase was completed in 1899 and housed the discoveries from an expedition sponsored by the University to the ancient site of Nippur. In 1915, the rotunda, which houses the Harrison Auditorium in the basement was completed. Charles Klauderdesigned the Coxe Memorial Wing, which opened in 1926 to house the Museum's Egyptian collection. The Sharpe Wing was completed in 1929. [ [http://www.facilities.upenn.edu/mapsBldgs/view_bldg.php3?id=130 Maps & Buildings @ Penn ] ]
David Chipperfieldwill head a redesign of the museum in 2006, plans include having the museum fully air conditioned. [cite news | last=Horn | first=Patricia | title=Architect to redesign Penn Museum | date=12 November 2005 | publisher=The Philadelphia Inquirer | url=http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/business/13147573.htm]
MASCAis the scientific division of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Its research focuses on the application of modern scientific techniques that will aid the interpretation of archaeological contexts and the materials recovered from those contexts, during both current excavations and past ones.
The UPM features a variety of comprehensive collections including galleries of artifacts from
Egypt, Chinaand Mesopotamia. Other highlights include a number of important Greco-Romanantiquities, Buddhist art, a small but choice collection of African art, and an impressive array of Mayan and other Pre-Columbianpieces.
The museum's collection of Egyptian artifacts is considered one of the finest in the world. The UPM's Egyptian galleries house an extensive collection of statuary, mummies, and reliefs. Most notably, the museum houses a set of architectural elements, including large columns and a sphinx, from the palace of the
Pharaoh Merenptah. These were excavated by a UPM expedition to Egypt in 1915.
Also of note is the UPM's large gallery of Chinese cultures. This gallery is impressive both for its collection and its location in the museum. The Chinese collection is housed in a spacious gallery underneath the museum's Harrison rotunda, which measures ninety feet across and ninety feet from the floor and is one of the largest unsupported masonry domes in the nation. This gallery houses large paintings and sculptures, as well as a perfectly spherical carved Chinese
crystalwhich belonged to Empress Dowager Cixi— one of the finest in existence. [cite news|title = The Chinese Rotunda: A stunning setting for a remarkable collection|publisher= Museum Homepage|url=http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/exhibits/galleries/china.html] Along with an Egyptian status of Osiris, the crystal ball was stolen in 1988, and its elegant silver stand, a stylized ocean wave, was found in a culvert not far from the Museum. The items were recovered in 1991 after a former museum staff member saw the statue in an area antique shop; the crystal ball was traced to a home in New Jersey and returned to the Museum. [cite news | last=Gibbons, Jr. | first=Thomas J. | title=Treasures Stolen from the Museum are Recovered after Three Years | date=30 October 1991 | publisher=The Philadelphia Inquirer]
The museum's most important collection is arguably that of the Royal Tombs of
Ur, which The University of Pennsylvania co–excavated with the British Museumin Iraq. Ur was an important and wealthy city-state in ancient Sumer, and the artifacts from its royal tombs showcase the city's wealth. The collections consists of a variety of crowns, figures, and musical instruments, many of which have been inlaid with gold and precious stones. The often traveling collection includes a well known Bull-headed lyre.
The UPM conducted an excavation of the Mayan city of
Tikal, Guatemalafrom 1956 to 1970. Many important artifacts from this excavation are on view in the museum, along with several stelaefrom the contemporary cities of Caracoland Piedras Negras. The gallery also displays many Aztecan, Oaxacan, and Teotihuacano artifacts.
Since 1958, the UPM publishes the magazine "Expedition" with 48 pages, current editor is James R. Mathieu, Ph.D. (ISSN 0014-4738) [cite news |title=Expedition Magazine|url=http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/Zine/index.shtml]
The Penn Museum has come into popularity as a venue for events held by corporations, non-profits, and even private entities (weddings, bat/bar mitzvahs, etc). [http://www.museum.upenn.edu/rentals]
List of museums with major collections of Egyptian antiquities
* [http://www.museum.upenn.edu/ University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology website]
* [http://www.museum.upenn.edu/new/exhibits/galleries/ourgalleries.shtml UPM Gallery Guide]
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