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Discovering the Secrets of the Silk Road

January 18, 2011, Volume 57, No. 18

Update: The Exhibition has been modified, click here for more information.


Young dancers from the Chinese for Families language school will perform two dances at the Penn Museum’s Secrets of the Silk Road Opening Weekend Celebration on Saturday, February 5, at 1 p.m.

The Penn Museum kicks off the exclusive East Coast premiere of Secrets of the Silk Road, the landmark exhibition from China with a host of special sights, sounds and activities for Penn Museum visitors during the grand opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday, February 5 and 6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Two programs launch that weekend: Mummies: Through Time, Across Continents (Saturdays, 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and Sundays, 1 and 3 p.m.), and Explore the Silk Road (Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 2 p.m.) They will continue on weekends throughout the exhibition and are free with museum admission.

In Mummies: Through Time, Across Continents, through a 30-minute presentation, staff explore the wide range of mummies unearthed by archaeologists, from the earliest remains to more contemporary examples.

In Explore the Silk Road, speakers from the Museum’s International Classroom Program consider ancient traditions along the Silk Road and their impact on modern cultures, with an interactive presentation that brings aspects of modern-day cultures vividly to life. Experiences may include demonstrations on how to make Chinese dumplings and paper cuttings, or wrap a sari and blend curry powder, or design a Turkish porcelain tile inspired by the Museum’s collection.

Special Offer Back by Popular Demand Now Through January 28

An exclusive offer from the Penn Museum to all Penn faculty and staff! Now through Friday, January 28, you can buy up to five tickets to Secrets of the Silk Road for $12.50 per ticket (a $10 savings per adult ticket). Perfect for gifts or to treat your friends and family to a day at the Museum.

Bring your PennCard to the Museum and select the time and date of your choice. 

Secrets of the Silk Road, a landmark exhibition that tells a tale of long-forgotten cultures along the world’s most legendary trading route, has its East Coast exclusive showing at the Penn Museum, February 5 through June 5, 2011. You’ll view amazingly preserved mummies, ancient gold jewelry and coins, figurines, clothing, tools and more.

There are exhibition tickets available for opening weekend! Plan to bring your family, and immerse yourself in an unforgettable Silk Road experience.

A Turkmen woman standing at the entrance to a yurt in Turkestan.

Visitors to Penn Museum’s Secrets of the Silk Road Opening Weekend Celebration can step into Penn Museum’s modern adaptation of a yurt, the ancient shelter used by Central Asian nomads. A large-scale tent—set up in the Museum’s outdoor Warden Garden and open for visitors throughout the weekend—is transformed into a Silk Road oasis, richly decorated with Central Asian silks, textiles, furniture, and a central market cart piled high with trading route goods. Inside, visitors can see, and enter, one of two yurts—portable, wood lattice-framed dwellings traditionally used by nomads.

Inside the tent, guests can enjoy several art activities. Henna is a popular plant dye used to create body tattoos throughout India and other regions of the Silk Road, and guests can get a demonstration henna tattoo, first-come first-served, between noon and 2 p.m. One of the most intriguing pieces in the Secrets of the Silk Road exhibition is called a “Bronze Eyeshade”—an ingenious precursor to modern sunglasses—and is dated to the 7th to 9th centuries. Throughout the day, guests of all ages can create a pair of Silk Road sunglasses of their own to take home with them as a memento of the exhibition.


During the Silk Road Opening Celebration weekend visitors can learn more about the life and duties of camels on the Silk Road. Outside, two Bactrian camels (at ease in blistering heat or freezing cold!) will circle the Penn Museum, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., stopping for guest encounters and hourly presentations about life along the ancient route.


Almanac - January 18, 2011, Volume 57, No. 18