Editorial | A salvaged exhibition

The efforts of the Penn Museum staff in response to Chinese officials’ actions are commendable

· February 9, 2011, 6:53 am   ·  Updated February 9, 2011, 12:00 am

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After Chinese officials suddenly and arbitrarily restricted the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology from displaying 150 rare artifacts, the museum staff was put in an extremely tough position.

The artifacts were to be showcased in “Secrets of the Silk Road,” a widely publicized exhibition that had been the focus of the museum’s promotional strategy for quite some time. But rather than simply lament the loss of the two years and $2 million that the museum spent on preparation for displaying the artifacts, its staff worked tirelessly to retain potential visitors by recreating the collection in less than a month.

In a remarkable feat of hard work, the staff made replicas of two 3,500-year-old mummies that were to be the centerpieces of the exhibition in time for its opening last week. It also took and displayed photographs of the real artifacts.

Although it is disappointing that the actual objects won’t be seen, we commend the efforts of the museum in salvaging the exhibition.

We encourage the Penn community to support the dedication of the museum staff and take advantage of “Secrets of the Silk Road,” which will be on display through June 5.

What do you think of the way the Penn Museum handled the situation? Send us a letter to the editor: letters@theDP.com.

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