China Pulls Plug On Penn Museum Silk Road Exhibit

Details are scant, but news came through earlier today that Chinese authorities have withdrawn their support for the Silk Road exhibit that was due to open this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology after months of pre-opening promotion, including right here on Phawker. Apparently the Chinese have taken their mummies and related artifacts and gone home. The press preview scheduled for Friday has also been canceled, and thousands of pre-sold tickets will be refunded. The museum’s spokesperson has not responded to a request for comment beyond the press release we’ve posted after the jump…DEVELOPING

Penn Museum’s “Secrets of the Silk Road” Exhibition to be Modified:
Silk Road Programming, Special Gallery Experience, to Begin February 5

Penn Museum regrets to announce that its specially-ticketed “Secrets of the Silk Road” exhibition, scheduled for February 5-June 5, 2011, has been modified, and will open without artifacts and mummies from China, at the request of Chinese officials.

The rich, multimedia Silk Road gallery experience—featuring text, images, sound, maps, a recreated excavation site, and interactive stations — will now be free with regular Museum admission.

The Museum’s extensive Silk Road programming — including a Silk Road Celebration Weekend on February 5 and 6, featuring live camels, music, a Silk Road trading goods outpost, themed foods and family activities — will take place as scheduled. The Silk Road Celebration Weekend will be free with regular Museum admission.

Additional programming includes: an ongoing monthly lecture series on “Great Adventures along the Silk Road;” the “Mummy Symposium: Anatomy of a Mummy” on February 26; the international Silk Road Symposium, “Reconfiguring the Silk Road: New Research on East-West Exchange in Antiquity,” on March 19; and a talk by Spencer Wells, Director of The Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, on April 17.

Weekend programs building on the Silk Road experience begin February 5 and run through March:  “Mummies: Through Time, Across Continents” (Saturdays and Sundays, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm) and “Explore the Silk Road” (Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 2:00 pm).

The full list of programs can be found online at:

All Museum patrons who have purchased advance tickets to Secrets of the Silk Road will be fully reimbursed. Individual ticket holders who visit the Museum for their reimbursement will be given free general admission to the Museum on the day they come. They may also opt to receive their reimbursement online, or by calling (888) 695-0888 (but will not receive a free pass to the Museum in this case). Groups may call (215) 746-8183 to receive reimbursement or opt to visit the Museum, and the modified gallery experience, at the regularly discounted general group admission price. The Museum will be contacting all those who have purchased advance tickets. Patrons with questions about their tickets may call (215) 746-4174.

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