Ask Benny: When will the construction ever end?

Dear Benny,
What is the goal of the construction in front of the Penn Museum and why is it taking so long?
— Missing The Garden

Dear Anxious Onlooker,
There’s a good reason you haven’t noticed much progress at the site — most of the work is happening below ground. But rest assured, work is moving along and should be completed soon.

Ann Brownlee, senior research scientist at Penn Museum, says the project was launched in early 2003 to create more basement space for the museum—space that will eventually be used to install a new air conditioning system.

As part of the work, the garden in front of the museum has been dug up. The garden will be replaced when the project below ground is completed.
Brownlee said she expects work to be wrapped up by December.

Dear Benny,
What prominent politicians have attended Penn?
—Political nut

Dear Politico,
Well, there’s more than a few—more than we could list in this space, actually. Penn has a long history of turning out political leaders, both here in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Among the most prominent: Influential early 19th-century U.S. Senator James Mason from Indiana; William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, who attended Penn but didn’t graduate; and, now, Sen. Arlen Specter, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and Gov. Ed Rendell.

For a complete list, check out

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Originally published on September 23, 2004