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Website of the Week — Penn Museum


Time again for our Website of the Week, where we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This week, return with us to the thrilling days of ancient Babylon and 19th century Polynesia, and explore life today in the Amazon rainforest and modern Mongolia.

SABLOFF: "The University of Pennsylvania Museum's website is really a natural outcropping of our mission. First is archaeological and anthropological research around the world. Secondly, our collections, which number more than a million objects that have been collected over a 120-year history of the museum. And finally, public education."

Jerry Sabloff is interim director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, online at www.museum.upenn.edu.

The Penn Museum website offers dozens of online exhibits, mostly based on shows they do at their physical museum in Philadelphia. You can explore the culture and economy of Sierra Leone in the 1930s or get recipes to prepare a meal like the one served at King Midas's funeral feast. You can learn about home life in ancient Greece, or see what their athletes were up to.

SABLOFF: "We have an ancient Olympics virtual exhibit, and this provides a wonderful history of the Olympics, some of the stories that come from antiquity, along with a variety of images relating to the ancient Olympics."

You can also read how archaeologists working in the field investigated thousands of years of trade and life around the Black Sea. There's even an exhibit showcasing almost 3,000 years of piercing, tattooing and other body mods.

Jerry Sabloff stresses that the Penn Museum focuses on more than just the beauty or characteristics of the individual items that it displays.

SABLOFF: "The bulk of our collection comes from our own research, so it has context. These are not seen as just individual art objects. We're always trying to understand how an artifact or an object can tell us about the peoples who made it and used it. And I think our virtual exhibits — that's one of the great themes that unites all of them."

You don't have to be an archaeologist or anthropologist to enjoy the Penn Museum website, just curious about different cultures of the present and the past at www.museum.upenn.edu, or get the link from our site, voanews.com/ourworld.

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