The Penn Museum will begin renovations on its Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries this fall, in its most extensive construction project to date.
The renovation of the Ancient Egypt and Nubia Galleries will proceed in two phases. The Main Level — with a tentative opening in late 2026 — will curate themes related to life and the afterlife in Ancient Egypt, featuring the ancient limestone tomb chapel of Kaipure. The Upper Level, expected to conclude renovations by late 2028, will exhibit gods, kings, and pharaohs, including the palace of Pharaoh Merenptah, which boasts 30-foot-tall columns.
Dr. Christopher Woods, the Williams Director of the Penn Museum, said in a Penn Museum press release that the renovation is a notable cultural achievement for the Philadelphia region and beyond.
“These galleries will provide an unparalleled opportunity to glimpse a day in the life of ancient Egyptians and Nubians — not only powerful, famous pharaohs but also working citizens who fueled two of the world's oldest and enduring societies,” Woods said.
To accommodate the construction process, the current Egypt Gallery will temporarily close to the public starting Nov. 6.
The Penn Museum will continue to offer its spaces as venues for weddings and private events of varying sizes, including the Sphinx Gallery, the Rotunda, the Upper Baugh Gallery, the rooftop terrace, and its outdoor gardens.
During the Egypt Gallery's closure, the museum’s collection of Egyptian and Nubian objects will remain in the temporary exhibition Ancient Egypt: From Discovery to Display. Visitors will also be able to observe Egyptian artifacts in the Africa Galleries and the newly-established Eastern Mediterranean Gallery, which opened last year.
As preparations for the renovation continue, the Penn Museum is facilitating private tours of the Egypt Gallery throughout October and conducting the Experience Ancient Egypt Giveaway, offering participants a chance to win prizes inspired by the museum's Egyptian collection.
For over a century, Penn archaeologists have conducted excavations in Egypt and Nubia, accumulating a collection of approximately 50,000 Egyptian and Nubian artifacts spanning from 4,000 BCE to the 7th Century CE, making it one of the United States' most extensive collections.
“Nowhere else outside of Egypt will visitors be able to walk through soaring architectural elements of an ancient Egyptian palace: It is worth the wait," Woods said in the press release.