In a smaller town, the The Penn Museum of Anthropology would be a marquee attraction. With one of the biggest collections of African artifacts in the US, it should be mobbed! But on non-event weekends, you may have it to yourself.
Don’t overlook this jewel! The museum collection fills a beautiful building on the edge of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. I love the courtyard, fountain and red brick, and the museum’s oddball layout. Its Asian and Etruscan artifacts are impressive.
The museum’s multi-media exhibit of Native American objects and history spins a narrative that crosses generations and brings the culture alive. Contemporary items in the exhibit add relevance and immediacy to the history.
New Middle East galleries offer stunning pieces and are part of a renovation that is slowly reshaping this treasure.
The museum’s star attraction is the African collection, which represents the whole of the continent. The Egyptian collection is its most important and impressive part. See numerous tombs and coffins, and get an up-close view of the mummies.
In a lab off of the main exhibit, you can see technicians working on the preservation of mummies. Ask them about the mummification of animals, like cats and birds. They’ll be eager to explain. There are hand-on exhibits that are interesting to all ages.
I love how I can lose track of time here and spend a whole day lost in this museum’s rambling hallways and immense galleries of Buddhas and Pharaohs. Come here to feel humble.