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Carney, who once worked at the Penn Museum, performed twice during the night.

Credit: Emily Xu

Penn Museum held a Galentine's Day celebration for the first time on Thursday, featuring a stand-up comedian, scrapbooking, essential oil making activities, and a "Badass Women of the Penn Museum" tour.

The Galentine’s Day event at the Penn Museum was inspired by the holiday popularized by the sitcom "Parks and Recreation," where protagonist Leslie Knope celebrates her female friends the day before Valentine's Day, Collaborative Programming Manager at the Penn Museum Zoe Evans said. She said the "Parks and Recreation" theme was an attempt to revitalize Valentine’s Day to appeal to young adults at the museum.

"We wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day, but we’re trying to think of a way to revisit it in a more fresh and young-adult friendly way," Evans said. "[This event is] bringing in pop culture but in a really relevant way to our collections."

The event included Leslie Knope staples, including a waffle bar, scrapbooking, and a civic engagement volunteer circle. The circle featured organizations such as Planned Parenthood, a provider for reproductive healthcare, which set up tables to talk about their mission. 

The museum celebrated impactful women with a “Badass Ladies Trivia” and a tour of the museum that showcased the lives of influential women in anthropology. Other activities included feminist button making, a photobooth with frame decorating, a make-your-own-perfume station, and writing love notes. 

Brittany Carney, a 32-year-old former Philadelphia resident, performed a stand-up comedy set, joking about topics ranging from her day job as a pre-school teacher to her love life.

She began her set by explaining her personal connection to Philadelphia and the Penn Museum. After living in Tokyo, Japan, she attended high school in Philadelphia, where she was once hired by the Penn Museum.

Carney's set included politically-relevant topics, such as climate change, race, and gender identity.  

Credit: Amanda Jiacheng Shen The event's Parks and Recreation theme sought to appeal to young adults at the museum.

Carney, who now lives in New York City, said she began doing stand-up in 2014 in Washington, D.C. She has opened for headliners including Saturday Night Live comedian Colin Quinn and Comedy Central star Nikki Glaser, according to her website.

Although the Penn Museum’s Egypt Gallery offered an alternative performance venue to the night clubs Carney is accustomed to, she said she enjoyed her experience. 

“It’s really kind of surreal and cool to be in this space among these artifacts, and then to try to figure out how to do stand up in this unique environment,” Carney said. “It’s such a cool, femme-centric event that I really appreciate.”

Samone Friedman, who attended the event with three friends but is not affiliated with Penn, said she loved the comedian's set and found it funny. 

Penn Museum's Research Liaison Sarah Linn said the event marks Penn Museum's efforts to move away from a primarily educational focus toward greater social impact initiatives.

“I'm really excited for the museum to move away from just educational to a lot of advocacy,” Linn said. “And I think that this is something a lot of museums are moving toward and I think it's something we’re really capable of doing."

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