Penn Museum's Middle East gallery

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Sunday, July 22, 2018
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University of Penn Museum's Middle East gallery | 6abc Loves the Arts. Karen Rogers reports during Action News at 7 a.m. on July 22, 2018.

At the Penn Museum's new Middle East Galleries, you can travel nearly 10,000 years through time.

The Penn Museum sent the very first U.S. archaeological expedition to the Middle East in the late 19th century. Hundreds of excavations later, the museum's new signature galleries invite audiences to explore their world-renowned treasures.

"We've excavated in so many places that we can tell the long story of how empires developed," Museum Curator Steve Tinney says.

The newly renovated space features 3 rooms and 6,000 square feet with nearly 1200 objects on view dating back to 6,000 BCE.

"The major finds in these galleries come from the countries of Iraq and Iran," Tinney says.

The show compares ancient life to the present day and the journey begins with some of the very first villages and cities.

"We get things like the first writing and temple decoration," Tinney says, as he points to a large standing copper bull from 2400 BCE that he says is one of few to survive, "So it's very rare to get to see one in a museum."

You can journey through the great city of Ur in southern Iraq, known for its trade industry.

"Everything that came in from all points north, south, west and east came through Ur and it made the city very, very rich," Tinney says.

Most of those riches went to the Mesopotamian Queen, Puabi.

"We have her cloak, which is made out of hundreds of beads," Tinney says, "and her crown, which is made of gold and gold ribbon."

The Middle East Galleries are the first in a series of new galleries being installed at the Penn Museum over the next several years.

"It's definitely worth coming back to the galleries more than once because there's so much here," Tinney says, "We hope that people will leave thinking about how life in cities is similar now to how it was."

The Penn Museum is running a summer special-$10 for general admission.

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3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104



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