Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We See Dead People

This was just too juicy to pass up. If you will forgive the bad pun, I have always loved haunting the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. I first became aware of this museum when I was in grade school. Back in the 1950s, the museum produced a television series which aired on Philadelphia's WCAU TV called What in the World.Produced by the Penn Museum, and created by its then director Froelich Rainey, What in the World was a pioneering museum education project during the dawn of the telecommunications age. Penn Museum's Peabody Award-winning popular weekly half-hour television program was first seen in 1951 and which ran for 14 years. By the early 1960s it was one of the oldest programs on television.

Seeing this program every week on television and discovering that I lived only a mile from the place where it was recorded was too much to resist. I begged my older brother to take me there whenever I could get the chance. Fortunately, he often obliged. Later, my first grade school girlfriend's mother worked in the museum gift shop and that was an even better excuse to visit.

When I entered graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, I made weekly visits to the museum and the University's library dedicated to Anthropology which is housed within the museum, as well as taking classes under the auspices of the Dept of Anthropology which occupies an upper floor.

So, when I saw this video "teaser" this morning, I simply could not resist sharing it here. Check it out. And if you are curious, check out the old footage of What in the World, there are a few examples on Youtube and although very dated, they are still worth watching. By the way, the University of Pennsylvania Musuem has an amazing Egyptian collection, including many mummies, and the reconstruction of the throne room of the Merenptah Palace from Memphis, which was sacred to the god Ptah, his consort Sekhmet and the third member of the Memphite Triad, Nefertem.

See the ghostly denizens of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Just perhaps I was a student of one of them. Alas, you will have to travel back in time a few months if you wish to attend the event, which was part of their program for school children, but it is none the less a fun way to introduce people to this wonderful resource. Check out their extensive website, the gift shop, and if you find yourself in Philadelphia, you really must include a visit to this amazing location. The extensive Egyptian collection should fascinate any Freemason, and the mummies will delight the kids if you have them with you.

2 comments:

ElAzul said...

Interesting,indeed.The first thing that came to mind was those big windows and changes in the supply of light.In the other hand I watched it several times.Are they really going to look closer?they should.Thanks.its one of those things that will make you think twice. :)

E C Ballard said...

Well, unfortunately I cannot say. I did not know about the event until well after it had passed, and my schedule at the time (last September) wouldn't have allowed me to go anyway. I posted it primarily because it demonstrates the creativity and playfulness with which the museum approaches its outreach program.

You are absolutely right about the windows, although the area does not get a lot of light even during daylight hours. For the record, I could imagine that museum being full of ghosts. It can feel haunted in daylight sometimes. I have spent countless hours in the place, so I know it well. Regardless, the place is amazing, fun, and truly educational.