An Irreplaceable Collection
The Case for the New Mainwaring Wing
realization of the Mainwaring wing (above) and Stoner Courtyard
(below) was made possible through generous
donations by foundations, corporations and literally hundreds
of individuals. The new wing is named in honor of Bruce Mainwaring
and his wife, Margaret Redfield Mainwaring. Both are strong
Museum advocates and supporters; Mr. Mainwaring is a Penn
Trustee Emeritus and former Museum Board of Overseers Chairman,
and Mrs. Mainwaring is a Trustee Emeritus and Former Vice
Chairman of the Trustees. The Stoner Courtyard is named after
supporters Thomas and Kitty Stoner of Maryland.
success can have its downside. After more than 100 years of world-wide
research and extraordinary collections development--when the University
of Pennsylvania Museum accessioned nearly one million archaeological
and anthropological artifacts--UPM had reached the limit of its
ability to maintain its collections under present conditions.
There was simply not enough space to house the collections properly.
Many were stored in overcrowded rooms, making access for faculty,
staff, students and visiting researchers difficult. There were
no study rooms for researchers; no place for faculty to bring
classes to look at objects.
a long-term collection standpoint, by far the greatest problem
was the lack of climate control. Extreme and rapid fluctuations
in temperature and relative humidity, excess levels of visible
and ultraviolet light, and atmospheric pollution all contribute
to the deterioration of irreplaceable collections.
a conservation perspective, the ethnographic collections were
those most at risk. It is possible to stabilize archaeological
metals by keeping them in low-humidity cabinets, and to deal with
the destructive effects of salts in pottery by large-scale desalinization
projects--conservation measures that the Museum has been undertaking
for many years. However, for organic materials, such as feather
headdresses, baskets, ivory carvings and animal skin clothing,
there are no equivalent treatments that will mitigate the effects
of uncontrolled daily changes in temperature and relative humidity.
Objects made of several different materials are at particular
risk, as the component parts expand and contract at different
extensive engineering and planning studies, the Museum embarked
on a critically needed, multi-phase program of expansion and renovation.
The first phase was the construction of a new storage and research
wing. Later phases, soon to begin, will include installation of
climate control in the existing buildings, including storage areas,
offices and galleries.
the past several years, the Museum's Conservation Department has
been in high gear, as about 100,000 of the Museum's most at-risk
artifacts, ethnographic materials from the Americas, Africa, Asia
and Oceania, have been undergoing a conservation check and packaging
process prior to being moved into the new wing. The move, which
began this month, may take up to 18 months, as collections staff
make the transition to the new space in a systematic fashion.
collection keepers and registrars have already moved into bright
new offices in the Mainwaring Wing. The new wing will provide
state-of-the-art storage facilities for most of the ethnographic
collections; much needed research space and a seminar room. Access
to these collections will be dramatically improved, as scattered
collections will be brought together, and study areas will be
located close to storage.
climate control system will create an environment with stable
temperature and humidity, and filtered air. This system, and the
new building promise to greatly enhance preservation of the collections
for future generations of scholars, students and the general public.
Invitation to Celebrate at a Party in the New Stoner Courtyard
are putting the finishing touches on what was once only
an idea on paper: the $17-million new Mainwaring Wing for
collections storage and study, and the adjacent Stoner Courtyard
garden, at the Museum. With the completion of the project,
the Museum, in partnership with Human Resources' Quality
of Worklife Programs, invites Penn faculty and staff to
a lunch-time party Friday, May 3, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (The
raindate will be Tuesday, May 7).
will hold a similar open house party for the public on Saturday,
May 4, and Sunday, May 5, 2 to 4 p.m., when visitors can
experience the new spaces and enjoy the entire Museum for
free (a regular benefit for all PENNcard holders).
Friday and Sunday there will be live calypso music from
the Steel Kings; Saturday there will be live West African
music of the Women's Sekere Ensemble. Enjoy complimentary
cookies and lemonade in the garden--as well as an opportunity
to chat with the building and landscape architects and the
builders involved in the project, experience the new public
garden space and tour part of the new collections wing.
Explorations, a special exhibition honoring the
long history of international fieldwork behind the Museum's
collections, opens in the newly renovated hallway gallery
just off the Stoner Courtyard entrance and adjacent to the
is a dream realized, not only for the Museum, but for the
entire University community," said Dr. Jeremy A. Sabloff,
the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania
Museum. "For Penn's researchers and researchers around the
world, the new Mainwaring Wing for collections storage and
study promises improved collections access, and the preservation
of important collections for generations to come."
Tours of one floor of the new state-of-the-art Mainwaring
Wing for collections storage and study will be available
on Friday. The wing was designed by the Philadelphia firm
of Atkin, Olshin, Lawson-Bell and Associates Architects,
and built by Turner Construction Company. The project was
overseen by Trammell Crow Company for Penn. Representatives
of the design and building teams will be available to talk
about the project.
by Candice diCarlo
Wierzbowski, American section, with a 19th century Native
American shoulder pouch.
Wing for collections storage and study soon will have limited
access when about 100,000 of the Museum's million artifacts
are moved into the space (a project slated to take up to 18
months). For the May 3 celebration, Penn faculty and staff
will be able to visit one floor of the new, state-of-the-art
building, greeted by Museum collection staff. Information
about future researching opportunities in the Museum's new
wing--as well as other collections areas, and Museum archives
--will be available at the event.
A Century of Images in
Archaeology and Anthropology
photos from the exhibit>>
George F. Dales, 1969.
F. Dales surveyed the Seistan region (pictured above)
of southwestern Afghanistan in search of evidence
of contact between the Indus and Mesopotamian civilizations.
exhibition, in honor of the new wing and courtyard,
runs from May 2 through December 29. It will be in
the renovated hallway galleries just off the Courtyard's
entrance, which reopens as the Museum's main entrance,
in anticipation of construction work in the Warden
Explorations provides a visual journey through
the archaeological and ethnographic landscape covered
by the Museum's 115-plus years of research around
the world. More than 60 black-and-white photographs
offer a kaleidoscopic view of a sampling of the nearly
400 field projects in the Museum's history. To prepare
the exhibition, Alessandro Pezzati, Museum archivist,
selected images from the tens of thousands of expedition
photographs in the Archives. Included are images from
famous expeditions to the Amazon (1913-1916), Memphis,
Egypt (1915-1923), Ur in Iraq (1922-34), Tikal, Guatemala
(1956-1970) and Gordion, Turkey, where the Museum
continues field work it began in 1950.
new, 52-inch internet-based screen updates the exhibition
with changing images of fieldwork being conducted by today's
generation of Museum researchers. While the photographs document
past research, curators and research scientists are still
active in both archaeology and anthropology around the world.
Using the latest in computer technology, these projects--over
30 in all--are shown in a dynamic display. Visitors will get
a glimpse into current excavations and analyses, from the
Old Stone Age of Egypt and France, the ancient civilizations
of both the Old and New Worlds, to the study of modern peoples
around the world.
by John Henry Haynes, 1899
carry away baskets full of dirt in a stark, surreal landscape
at Nippur in Iraq, 1899.
Stoner Courtyard garden, featuring plants from three continents,
is an elegant new contemplative public garden space on our
beautiful campus, and one that we want the Penn community
to visit, use, and enjoy," Dr. Sabloff said. "Come on out,
celebrate with us, and get acquainted
with this wonderful new space." Penn faculty and staff will
have the opportunity to be among the first to stroll the garden--the
area's newest urban contemplative space designed by Olin Partnership,
Landscape Architects and Urban Planners. Olin Partnership
recently completed the Comprehensive Development Plan for
the University as well as the Master Plan for Independence
National Historic Park.
Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 32, April 30, 2002
April 30, 2002
Volume 48 Number 32