The Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has launched the Digital Penn Museum, a platform for their collections, recorded lectures, and hundreds of films from expeditions across the world. As an institution focused on archaeology and anthropology, the portal offers improved accessibility to its resources on global history and culture.
Like many museums that are increasing their online engagement, the Digital Penn Museum is aimed at expanding the audience for its programming and collections beyond the physical space of the institution. For instance, it features over 200 lectures recorded since 2010 on such subjects as the early-20th-century Piltdown fossil hoax, and flood, myth, and magic in early Mesopotamia, as well as the “Great Riddles in Archaeology” series.
Thousands of objects from the museum’s collection are available to search, such as the “Ram in a Thicket,” one of a pair found in Ur in present-day Iraq (the other is in the British Museum); the colossal granite Sphinx of Ramesses II; and Queen Puabi’s gold leaf and jewel headdress. Online visitors can also delve into back issues of the museum’s Expedition magazine, exhibition and research specific websites from the past 20 years, and interactive websites (in one you can write your name in Cuneiform).
Especially interesting are the video archives. Many of these around 700 films were already online with the support of the Internet Archive, yet the Digital Penn Museum makes them easier to navigate and search. They include field recordings from the Tikal Project on precolonial archaeology in Guatemala, some of the earliest color footage of Machu Picchu in Peru from the summer of 1950, a 1930 journey on the Darjeeling railroad through the foothills of the Himalayas, a demonstration of Sioux sign language in 1940, and a wander in a pre-Chinese Communist Revolution Canton (now Guangdong) in 1930. Below are a few samples from this moving atlas:
Machu Picchu, Peru (1950)
Darjeeling Railroad (1930)
Canton, China (1930)
Access more videos, lectures, and other archives at the Digital Penn Museum.
Join Hyperallergic for an online conversation with Kiowa Tribal Museum Director Tahnee Ahtone on January 25 at 7pm (EST).
This week, Patrisse Cullors speaks, reviewing John Richardson’s final Picasso book, the Met Museum snags a rare oil on copper by Nicolas Poussin, and much more.
Graduate students in the University of Denver’s Emergent Digital Practices program work on research with faculty who are engaged directly with their communities, both online and off.
Alexi Worth’s paintings demand a double take that allows viewers to look closer and begin dissembling the painting in order to understand what is being looked at.
Anastasia Pelias’s sculpture builds on this mythological legacy, suggesting we all have the ability to commune with a higher power and influence our futures.
Curated by Jill Kearney, this exhibition in Frenchtown, NJ amplifies stories both local and universal with work by Willie Cole, Sandra Ramos, sTo Len, and more.
Jack Spicer’s poetry can be deeply funny and playful but it has a consistent undercurrent of sadness.
Belinda Rathbone’s biography traces the sculptor’s embrace of kinetic mechanisms to his work in the Singer Sewing Machine factory.
The first lecture is on the relationship between early portrait photography and diverse notions of US identity during the Gilded Age. Register to attend on January 25.
It’s the first time in the country’s history that objects of this significance are offered for public sale.
Schwartz was at the forefront of computer-generated art before desktops or the kind of software that makes it commonplace today.
Curator La Tanya S. Autry shares a set of crucial questions she considers when curating images of anti-Black violence.