University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

infobox Museum
name= University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


caption= Facade of the main entrance to the museum
established= 1887
location= 3260 South St.,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States flagicon|USA
director= Richard Hodges
type = Anthropology and Archaeology
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 archaeology and anthropology museum that is part of the University of Pennsylvania in University City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

History

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 Building

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 rotunda and 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 & Stewardson and 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 Klauder designed 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 ] ]

British architect David Chipperfield will 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]

MASCA

MASCA is 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.

Collections

The UPM features a variety of comprehensive collections including galleries of artifacts from Egypt, China and Mesopotamia. Other highlights include a number of important Greco-Roman antiquities, Buddhist art, a small but choice collection of African art, and an impressive array of Mayan and other Pre-Columbian pieces.

Egypt

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.

China

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 crystal which 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]

Mesopotamia

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 Museum in 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.

Mesoamerica

The UPM conducted an excavation of the Mayan city of Tikal, Guatemala from 1956 to 1970. Many important artifacts from this excavation are on view in the museum, along with several stelae from the contemporary cities of Caracol and Piedras Negras. The gallery also displays many Aztecan, Oaxacan, and Teotihuacano artifacts.

Periodicals

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]

Rentals

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]

ee also

* List of museums with major collections of Egyptian antiquities

References

External links

* [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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