For more than 127 years, the Penn Museum has been one of the leading museums of archaeology and anthropology in the world, with a collection of more than one million objects that we have largely excavated ourselves. Our influence is felt far beyond our walls by means of loans to leading museums everywhere, through our excavations around the world, and through scholarly and popular publications that are read widely.
So it came as no surprise when, in February of 2014, the British publisher Dorling Kindersley, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, approached us about photographing our objects for a new book—History of the World in 1,000 Objects. But even we were not quite prepared for the fact that 200 of the entries in the final publication are from our collection, including the famed Bull’s Head of the Great Lyre of Ur in a magnificent double spread on the title pages, and a detail from one of our beautifully illuminated Persian manuscripts in another double spread on the foreword pages.
Penn archaeologists and anthropologists are still exploring, excavating, and researching around the world today—often with Penn students among their team members. You can read about their discoveries on their research pages or blog entries on this site, or visit the Museum to hear them lecture and ask them questions at one of our many programs and events.
Since its founding in 1887, the Penn Museum has been a museum of the world and for the world—at its heart, about exploration and discovery. I invite you to share in our great, human adventure. Return to our website often. I promise you will find something new every time. And come and enjoy our galleries. In addition to magnificent objects, our interactive features will offer you plenty of ways to explore for yourself, and to tell us what you think and what else you would like to see.
The Penn Museum has a great history but will always keep exploring. We invite you to join the voyage of discovery.
Julian Siggers, Ph.D.