Unpacking the Past: Ancient Egypt and the Penn Museum

Say it Rah-shay By Aug 26, 2014 No Comments

Today I was invited to participate in an educators workshop at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. The Museum is offering a program called Unpacking the Past to all 7th grade classrooms in the School District of Philadelphia an opportunity to participate in a FREE program to explore ancient Egypt.

All costs are covered. Free bus, admission for students and chaperones, tour and a hands-on workshop. The programs align to the Common Core and SDP Scope and Sequence.

There are two parts to the program: Classroom outreach (which would take place in your classroom before the museum visit) and the Museum visit (where there is a guided tour and the trip and workshop). The group today got a sneak peek at the program and was invited to provide feedback for:

Mummy Maker Museum Worskshop
Here we learned how ancient Egyptians prepared their dead for the afterlife. Using a fabricated mummy, Mr. Ulysses Penn (U Penn – see what they did there?) we explored the process for mummification.

This is a hands on activity covering multiple areas of the cirriculum.There was math, geography, science and social studies. This was an active hands on activity in which we could take part in the mummification process. The two leaders for this activity were incredible. Kelly Hirsch (who participated in some digs!) and Kevin Schott worked very well together and my group had such a great time. They were professional but fun and kept up a good pace and allowed time for questions, comments and audience participation.
Fun Fact The ancient Egyptians threw away the brain but saved the heart. They believed that when you died, your heart was weighed by the god Anubis. If your heart was light due to being a good person and doing good deeds, you could go on the afterlife. But, if your heart was heavy, the goddess Ammut would move swiftly and gobble you up.


A replica of a mummified hand. Say it rah-shay Egypt visit

A replica of a mummified hand. The bodies are wrapped with about 20 plus layers of linen during the process!

Ancient Egypt Tour
We were able to visit the Egyptian galleries of the museum and look at some of the objects we learned about during the mummification. Some of the artifacts in the gallery are thousands of years old! It was a little humbling to be around these museum pieces which were crafted in a society oh so long ago and it made me appreciate the modern conveniences that I enjoy.

Jenny Leibert led this part of the tour and she made it fun and interactive as we learned abut dynasties, a timeline for ancient Egypt and saw real mummies.
Fun Fact: The Sphinx in the Museum weighs 15 tons and is the largest in North America!


Ramses II weighs in at 15 tons!

Ramses II weighs in at 15 tons!

Archeologist Outreach Lesson
This portion was led by Emily Hirshorn who demonstrated how a visit to the classrooms would run. It was another hands on experience in which we got to look at artifacts and make inferences for who we thought the artifacts belonged to. This was fun as we got to pair up with other participants and chat as we tried to figure out who belonged to artifacts we we given.





A replica of the artifacts we would see


Lunch was a yummy buffet and we got to meet Penn Egyptologist Dr. Jennifer Wegner who showcased some artifacts and shared news about the Museum’s current projects. The Penn Museum was in the nes earlier in the year when they discovered the tomb of an unknown Pharaoh!

Artifacts from a Penn Egyptian dig

Artifacts from a Penn Egyptian dig


The day wrapped up with a raffle (I won one!) and lots of ideas for a program at work. Click here to see what I got!

Lots of supplies for my library with a near bag!

Lots of supplies for my library with a near bag!

The staff at the Museum are a delight. They were available for questions, down to earth and eager to share their knowledge with the students who will be coming to the museum.

Want to book you FREE visit?
1. Choose three dates for your visit
2. Contact the museum at schools@pennmuseum.org
3. Include
Subjec: Unpacking the past
-Name of school
-Number of students
-Preferred dates

Since I am outside of the city I will not be able to take part in the Free Outreach program BUT I can take advantage of all of the outreach programs available!












I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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