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The Penn Museum Has Reopened With Social Distancing

After closing its doors to the public for four months, Penn Museum has reopened under coronavirus prevention measures.

The Penn Museum’s mission of building connections between cultures, gain an understanding of our shared humanity, and finding one’s own place in the arc of human history has never felt more relevant. If you’re ready to dive in and start learning more, you’re in luck. The museum is open and ready for visitors. 

The Penn Museum invites visitors to discover the mysteries of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, and the Middle East. This archaeology and anthropology museum dating back to 1887 is a cultural gem with a collection of more than one million objects, much of them from worldwide scientific expeditions sponsored by the museum. 

Re-Discover the Penn Museum

Over the last few years, the museum has completely renovated the Middle East Galleries which delve into how ancient societies gave rise to cities; the Africa Galleries which provide a humbling look into enslavement and a Mexico and Central America Gallery that reveals the unity among diverse cultures. Highlights of the collection include a 3,200-year-old sphinx, Egyptian mummies, some of the world’s oldest writing, masks from West Africa, and 4,500-year-old jewelry worn by royalty. 

The Penn Museum is open and ready for visitors | WhereTraveler
(©Remy Perez)

New Exhibits

On Friday, August 28, the museum will open an undergraduate student-curated exhibit called Living With the Sea: Charting the Pacific. The exhibit will explore the ways the sea inspires people from the Pacific Islands to create materials and meanings that connect their past, present, and future. Many of the artifacts in the exhibit are from the museum’s rarely-seen Oceania collection, which includes a navigational chart used by sailors to determine their path on the water in the Marshall Islands, body  modification instruments of the Solomon Islands and a scarification tool from Kiribati. Each year, the museum selects three undergraduates to collaborate with staff, expand their research with faculty, and create an accessible experience for museum visitors, all while strengthening their skill sets for future careers.

New Events

Also, on August 28, the museum is joining forces with Philly Loves Beer to host Ancient Alcohol After Hours, a virtual event. Let the museum be your designated driver for this virtual tour and beer tasting. History and beer experts will lead this on-screen exploration of how our ancestors partied like it was 5000 BCE and related pieces from the museum’s breathtaking collection. Buy the recommended beer ahead of time so you can take part in ancient Greek drinking games. For tickets click here

New Safety Procedures

The museum has instituted a few modifications to keep visitors and staff safe and healthy. To limit capacity the museum recommends that visitors purchase timed tickets in advance. They are available online. To further enhance social distancing, floor markings provide a suggested one-way path through the museum.  All visitors (ages 2+) and staff members are required to wear a face-covering at all times inside the museum and in the Warden Garden, Stoner Courtyard and outdoor spaces. All guests will also be asked to maintain at least a six-foot distance from other visitors not in their household group. Visitors get a Penn Museum stylus to safely encourage using interactive touchscreens. Hand sanitizer and wipe dispenser stations are available throughout the museum and the museum staff regularly cleans and sanitizes spaces using CDC-rated products. 

The Café will be closed until state and city guidelines again permit indoor dining. Temporarily, the museum is unable to offer touchable artifacts or free public tours. However, its exciting digital programming and events for all ages will continue online with Penn Museum at Home.

(©Raffi Berberian)