Advancement Grant: Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania

Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania

2017
$500,000

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The Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries will invite visitors to interact with both iconic and everyday objects from the first cities. Photo courtesy of Haley Sharpe Design.

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Women's coat (Ak Chirpi), multi-color hand-embroidered robe with fringe along edge of hem., from Central Asia, Turkmenistan, made ca. 1890, purchased for the Penn Museum from A. Barsa in 1913. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

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Visitors at Penn Museum’s Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq around a work by Syrian-born artist Issam Kourbaj. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

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Bull-headed Lyre (head height: 35.6 cm; plaque height: 33 cm) from the Woolley-coined “King’s Grave” royal tomb of Private Grave, 789, constructed with gold, silver, lapis lazuli, shell, bitumen and wood, ca 2550 BCE at Ur. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

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The Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries will invite visitors to interact with both iconic and everyday objects from the first cities. Photo courtesy of Haley Sharpe Design.

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Head of lion (height: 11 cm; width: 12 cm) made of silver, lapis lazuli and shell, from the Royal Cemetery of Ur, ca 2550 BCE. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

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MAYA 2012: Lords of Time, 2012, installation view, Penn Museum. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

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The Penn Museum’s new Middle East Galleries will include rotating displays of textiles and manuscripts, with interactive screens inviting further explorations of these rich collections. Photo courtesy of Penn Museum.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) will launch a five-year initiative to develop new approaches to exhibition design, public programming, and communications. With the goal of enriching visitors’ understanding of human history through the museum’s collection of more than one million objects, the project will begin with reimagined installations and programs for the galleries of the Ancient Middle East—the first of the museum’s galleries to undergo renovation as part of a comprehensive museum transformation plan. Exhibition space will be expanded to accommodate up to 1,200 artifacts, many that have long been held in storage. Interpretive approaches such as replicas of artifacts that visitors can touch, interactive computer stations, and displays that mimic excavation sites will serve as models for subsequent reinterpretations of the museum’s Egyptian and Asian galleries. Refreshed branding and marketing efforts will promote the new developments and target increased museum visitation.