The Chinese government has said yes.
The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology announced Friday that its Chinese exhibition, “Secrets of the Silk Road,” will again feature rare artifacts and mummies previously withheld by the Chinese government. The artifacts will be on display beginning Feb. 18.
After what Chinese language and literature professor Victor Mair previously described as a “horrible bureaucratic snafu,” the Penn Museum gained access and exhibition rights to 150 rare Chinese artifacts.
The exhibit was displayed in Santa Ana, Calif. and Houston before coming to Penn.
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Chinese Embassy spokesman Wang Baodong as saying that the central government had only approved showing the artifacts at the previous two locations. He mentioned to the Inquirer that the artifacts should not have been on display for over a year. They first appeared on the West Coast last March.
“The exhibition was originally approved to be on display for only two stops, one in California, the other in Houston,” Baodong told the Inquirer.
The exhibition marks the East Coast debut for all the artifacts and the first-ever appearance in the United States for two 3,500-year-old mummies.
Beijing granted Penn special approval after repeated requests but remained wary. “We just want the American public to know we have the relevant laws and regulations. You’ve got the follow the laws,” Baodong added.
“We are delighted to be able to present the complete range of this spectacular material,” wrote Richard Hodges, the Williams Director of the Penn Museum, in a statement.
The modified exhibition — which has been on display since Feb. 5 — will close Feb. 13 to accommodate the installations of the fragile treasured objects, some of which are over 3,800 years old.
“‘Secrets of the Silk Road’ is a historic, must-see exhibition — and we encourage people to make sure to come to the Penn Museum during its limited run,” Hodges wrote.
The complete exhibit will show at the Museum from Feb. 18 to Mar. 15. It will continue from Mar. 17 through Mar. 28 — instead of June 5 as previously planned — with all the artifacts except the two mummies.
While the Museum granted free admission during the mix-up, tickets are now priced at $22.50 for general admission and $16.50 for non-Penn students. Those with PennCards can access the exhibit on a free timed ticket.
Due to the now shorter duration of the exhibit, the museum will be open seven days a week for extended hours, until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Note: This article was updated from its original version to clarify ticketing policies for Penn students.
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