University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

We are transforming the Penn Museum's landmark building to improve the visitor experience and upgrading the Guastavino-designed galleries to 21st century museum standards.

The Penn Museum is a century-old Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. We are restoring and renovating the Harrison and Coxe Wings, which house the Near East, Egypt, and Asia collections. The goal of the three-phase, 82,000 SF project is to reinvigorate the museum as a destination for the public, school groups, visiting scholars, and Penn students. The first phase was completed in 2019 and achieved LEED Silver.

The recently completed first phase improved the visitor experience and circulation, for the first time enabling accessible access and a clear, sequential gallery sequence of the galleries dedicated to the museum's Egyptian and Asian artifacts.

Our redesign included the removal of a central stair in the Harrison wing, allowing for the relocation of the museum’s treasured, 12.5 ton granite sphinx to the Lobby. This enabled curators to foreground the museum’s collection so visitors are immediately immersed into the collection, transforming a formerly cramped and dark gallery into an expansive, day-lit space.

The second major intervention into the building's fabric introduced a new, glazed hallway provides views into an landscaped courtyard and leads to a new stair and elevator that ensures barrier-free access to all levels of the Coxe Wing galleries.

Finally, a new garden at the northeast corner of the museum replaced a former loading dock with a dedicated entrance into the restored Auditorium, distinguished by its restored Guastavino-tiled domed ceiling and new lighting, air conditioning, acoustic, and audiovisual upgrades. This entrance allows for after-hours use and makes auditorium more accessible to the entire University.