40 Winks with the Sphinx

"40 Winks with the Sphinx"

WHAT:"40 Winks with the Sphinx" is the Penn Museum’s new sleepover program for children ages 6-12, their parents, or an adult chaperone (21 years or older). Tena Thomason, assistant director of special events at the Penn Museum, says that to the best of her knowledge, this is the first time anyone has been allowed to stay overnight at the Museum.

WHEN: May 29, June 5 and June 12. The program is being launched in conjunction with the promotion for “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” starring Ben Stiller.

FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE: The event is limited to 100 guests at a time and one adult is required for every five children. All participants in the program must pre-register and pay all applicable fees in advance. The event runs $50 per person and is $45 per Museum member.

FALL BACK: “40 Winks” takes a summer break before returning once a month in the fall: Sept. 25, Oct. 30 (Halloween Theme), Nov. 20 (Girl Scouts Night) and Dec. 4.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: The event begins with a game called “What in the World,” in which campers are shown a cultural artifact and compete to figure out what it is. “That’s to get them excited to think about other cultures,” Thomason says. Afterwards, campers have two hours to explore the Museum. They can choose from four activities, including Egyptian hieroglyphs, a family scavenger hunt or an international classroom speaker. Participants can also watch “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the first film in the popular series.

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS: In the international classroom, foreign students living in the area will talk with the campers about world cultures. “For the May 29 [event], we have a woman coming from Bangladesh who’s going to talk about living in Bangladesh and culture,” Thomason says.

FLASHING LIGHTS: After the open exploration and a snack, the children will be split into groups of around 20 for a flashlight tour of the Museum. “Everyone is encouraged to bring their own flashlights,” says Thomason.

SHUT EYE: Lights-out is at 11:45 p.m. Campers will sleep in the Museum's Lower Egyptian Gallery, at the feet of the Museum’s Sphinx, the third largest granite Sphinx in the world.

EARLY BIRDS: Campers arise at 7 a.m. After breakfast in the Museum Café, they can further explore the Museum or finish their scavenger hunt. The program ends at 9 a.m. All the children campers will receive a souvenir patch, which allows them admission back to the Museum during the school year.

MORE INFO: Details and registration information are available at www.museum.upenn.edu/sleepovers.

Originally published on May 21, 2009