The Penn Museum, one of the most underrated landmarks in Philadelphia, is undergoing the second phase of a massive renovation. As part of this project, the massive Sphinx, which has stood at the center of the museum’s impressive Egyptian collection for almost 100 years, will be moved to the main entrance. The Sphinx is one of the most memorable artifacts in the already memorable collection, as it is the largest outside of Egypt, is 3,000 years old, and weighs 25,000 pounds. This is part of this phase of renovations, which will include refurbished Egyptian galleries, as well as updates to the African, Native American, and Central American exhibits. The previous phase saw the renovation of the Middle East galleries, which turned out great. What’s interesting about this move is that while it’s not uncommon to see large objects in museums, it is uncommon for them to move. Some other large items in Philly’s museums include the train in the Franklin Institute and the statue of Diana in the Art Museum. The process of moving the large and extremely heavy Sphinx up one floor and across the museum, is an interesting one.
In related news, the Mütter Museum has also announced that it will begin a renovation/expansion of the museum, which will double its exhibition space. This is welcome news, as the Mütter is often very crowded, and people are packed into it very tightly. Doubling the size will not only give more room for its visitors, but also allow the museum to display more of its collection at a given time. Interestingly, the new space will put emphasis on the rare books, showing that the museum is more than just its specimen collection.
In even more related news, the Franklin Institute is renovating its Train Factory exhibit into a “Treasures of the Franklin Institute” exhibit, which will display an array of objects, a list of which is not specified. Given that this will open in five years, this is not something that will be happening imminently.