September 25, 2012
The Notorious Morton Collection Of Skulls Now On Display At The Penn Museum As Part Of A New Exhibit, Year Of Proof
Outside of being cast as an extra in a B-grade horror flick or sorting through the prop chest of a Shakespearean actor, your chances of coming across a collection of human skulls might seem pretty slim.
But now through August 18, 2013, anyone passing through the Penn Museum’s Trescher Entrance foyer can swap stares with enough skulls to satisfy the fussiest Frankenstein.
This cranial cornucopia is on display as part of the museum’s new exhibition, Year of Proof: Making and Unmaking Race. The collection was first put together in the mid-1800s by Samuel George Morton, a Philadelphia physician who sought to measure racial differences through analysis of 1,200 skulls gathered from around the globe.
If the glare from more than a dozen empty eye sockets makes you a bit uncomfortable, distract yourself with the array of mid-19th century measuring devices and short videos comparing historical and modern-day research methods.
Then, on October 4, beef up on your skullduggery just in time for Halloween with “From Skulls to Scans: How Brain Measurements Have Been Used, Misused, and Misunderstood in the Study of Racial Difference.” The free mini symposium continues the debate over Morton’s controversial studies, as well as evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould’s attempts to discredit him.
Expand your cranium: tickets to the Penn Museum are available online.
Get a video preview of the skull collection, below.
Year of Proof: Making and Unmaking Race at the Penn Museum
Where: 3260 South Street
When: Now through August 18, 2013
Cost: $12 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children (6–17) and students
More info: www.penn.museum