University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Great Lectures Series at the Penn Museum

Throughout time, catastrophes have shaped the world we live in. In the 2019-20 Great Lecture Series, we explore catastrophes from their causes and immediate impacts, to their implications and ingenuities. Natural and nuclear disasters, along with disease and deluge, will all be explored—from Pompeii to Chernobyl and mass extinction to the flu pandemic. Join us on the first Wednesday of the month from October to June. $50 Subscription or $7 per lecture for Penn Museum Members; $80 Subscription or $10 per lecture for the general public.

What better way to delve into the thrill of discovery than to hear from acclaimed Penn faculty and invited special guests during our signature lecture series? The annual “Greats Lectures” offer visitors opportunities dig into the past through vivid details and incredible insights into humanity over time and space.

NEW! Come early to join a PhD candidate or collections expert for a pre-lecture Daily Dig object talk at 4:30pm that will highlight the each month's lecture topic, with no registration required. And before each of the Greats Lectures, the Museum Café will serve delicious, daily-prepared hot entrees, soup, and sandwiches. Arrive in the late afternoon to enjoy all the Museum has to offer!


$10 General Admission
$7 Penn Museum Members Advance Ticket*
$10 At-the-door based on availability

*Have Membership questions? Please contact the Membership Office at 215.898.5093 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To get the member discount online, you must log in as a member on the ticketing site. Member discount applies only to the number of persons on your membership core benefits.

Due to Harrison Auditorium renovations, the October 2 and November 6 Great Lectures will be presented in the smaller Rainey Auditorium. For December 4 and beyond, the series will permanently move back into the newly transformed Harrison Auditorium.

Upcoming Lecture Dates

Using Archaeology to Improve Climate Models: the LandCover6k Project06:00PM - 07:00PM
“Blacker and Denser Than Any Other Night”: The Destruction of Pompeii and Its Aftermath06:00PM - 07:00PM
Great Catastrophes in Earth History06:00PM - 07:00PM
Overturning of Space and Time: The End of the Inca Empire06:00PM - 07:00PM
Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19 in Philadelphia06:00PM - 07:00PM
The Classic Maya Collapse: New Evidence on a Great Mystery06:00PM - 07:00PM
‘“An Earthquake That Shook the World”: Seismicity and Society in the Late Fourth Century CE06:00PM - 07:00PM
How Did They Survive? The Aftermaths of Chernobyl06:00PM - 07:00PM


Public Programs Department


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