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Penn Museum

Transforming understanding of the human experience

Penn Museum

A 3,200 year old sphinx, the sixth largest in the world, at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Credit: Penn Museum


The Experience

If you called its 15-ton Egyptian sphinx “one in a million,” you’d be right: it is just one in a collection of nearly a million objects at the Penn Museum (also known as the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)—one of the world’s finest archaeological and anthropological museums.

For more than 125 years, the Penn Museum has sponsored worldwide scientific expeditions which have yielded many of the artifacts on display including Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets (some of the world’s oldest writing), architectural elements from the 3,200-year-old palace of the pharaoh Merenptah, towering ancient Maya stone monuments, evocative masks from West Africa, and the largest collection of artifacts from the Levant in the Western Hemisphere.

Ancient Greek and Italian treasures are presented in a suite of Classical World galleries while other noteworthy galleries include explorations of Africa, Asia, and Central America.

In addition to its permanent galleries, the Penn Museum also hosts rotating special exhibitions. Recent exhibitions have included, Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq, which sheds light on the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage in the Middle East, and Native American Voices—The People, Here and Now, an artifact- and media-rich show that challenges common Native American stereotypes.

The building itself is an experience with a unique blend of eclectic features, including vaulted ceilings on the first floor and a towering Rotunda gallery. Outside, you’ll find beautiful public gardens featuring fountains and sculptures by Alexander Stirling Calder and a koi pond.

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The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was founded in 1887, when the University agreed to send out a first expedition to the site of Nippur in modern-day Iraq. Since then this active museum and research institution has been exploring cultures through time and across continents and sharing the adventure with the public.

Other Information

Open Tue – Sun, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; open to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month

Great Kids’ Stuff

Children can interact with experts in artifact conservation. A special ongoing project and gallery, The Artifact Lab: Conservation in Action, lets everyone watch a conservator at work—and ask questions!

Buy Tickets In Advance

Tickets for the Penn Museum are available in advance online. Click the button below to purchase tickets online.

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