Penn Museum Sphinx

Penn Museum’s $102 Million Revamp

The massive expansion and renovation project includes new and reimagined galleries.

Philadelphia’s Penn Museum, which chronicles 10,000 years of human history, is undergoing its largest transformation in 118 years. The $102 million revamp of the facility, which was established in 1887, includes air conditioning of more than 30,000 square feet of galleries and public spaces and reinstallation of most of the signature galleries. As part of the renovation, the museum’s 13-ton sphinx of Ramses II—the largest sphinx in the western hemisphere—is being moved to a new main entrance hall, which will open November 16.

The revamp includes a reimagined version of the museum’s Mexico and Central America Gallery, which will showcase art and artifacts celebrating craftsmanship and culture as well as archeological excavations. Also being reimagined are the Africa Galleries, which will highlight that continent’s culture and include interpretive displays for visitors of all ages. Both of these projects will be unveiled November 16.

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The revamp has been multi-phased so that many exhibits at the facility—formally known as the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology—can remain open during construction. For instance, while the new Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries (set to debut in 2022) are being built, the museum will still showcase its Egyptian collection through a dynamic 6,000-square-foot exhibition that allows visitors to trace the journey of an artifact from excavation to storage and research.