Smile and get into the holiday spirit of peace at the Penn Museum! Create a new tradition of gathering family and friends in the international galleries during the free 20th Annual Peace around the World holiday celebration Saturday, December 5, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Guests receive Museum “passports” with “itineraries” to visit various nations, their cultures, and festive holiday traditions such as Diwali and Kwanzaa with the help of international presenters stationed throughout the galleries. The all-ages afternoon also features storytelling, choral music, folk dance performances, henna hand art, balloon art, face painting, sari-wrapping, and more. Visitors are invited to join in a peace flag community craft to be hung in the museum to illustrate a spirit of unity. Special “Celebrations around the World” gallery tours and free cupcakes for children round out this special day!
“This joyful and distinctively international celebration is Penn Museum’s holiday ‘gift’ to our community,” said Dr. Julian Siggers, Penn Museum Director. “We open our doors in the spirit of cultural understanding and in the hope we all have for a world at peace.”
The celebration is made possible with the support of the Museum’s all-volunteer Women’s Committee, and CxRA (Catering by Restaurant Associates), Penn Museum’s exclusive caterer and operator of the Pepper Mill Café. Peace Day Philly, Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA, and Penn Ice Rink and are additional partners.
At 11:00 am,and 2:00 pm, Joe Tayoun, internationally acclaimed Middle Eastern percussionist, leads an exploration of rhythms during a Middle Eastern Drum Workshop. The creator of an educational Middle Eastern music app, Tayoun has a repertoire that includes Arabic, Armenian, and Turkish music. A limited number of drums are provided, and guests are welcome to bring their own to this workshop.
From 11:30–12:15 pm, Visitors can explore their inner peace and Indian culture through yoga and guided meditation with members of the Bhartiya Vidalaya Cultural Center.
“Celebrations around the World” family gallery tours depart from Pepper Hall at 12:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, venturing through the Native American Voices exhibition, plus the Africa, Mexico and Central America, and Rome galleries, to explore ceremonial rites of passage, feasts, and music of celebrations past and present.
At 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm, Momma Sandi, a member of the National Association of African American Storytellers, shares tales featuring the principles of Kwanzaa, and of peace.
Music reverberates throughout the Museum when the Episcopal Academy Middle School Singers and Middle School Chamber Ensemble lend their talent to the festivities, beginning at 1:00 pm.
Special family storytimes at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm feature the picture book “What Does Peace Feel Like?” by Vladimir Radunsky. The book describes the five senses of peace according to grade school students around the world. Families then have an opportunity to write or draw what peace means to them on flags to be later hung as a community banner within the museum. The peace flag craft station is open throughout the day to give all visitors a chance to share their hope for peace.
From 3:00 – 3:30 pm, children from the Bhartiya Vidalaya Cultural Center perform traditional dances from India.
A Daylong Passport to the World
Peace around the World begins as guests claim their “passports” upon entering the Museum, before “departing” on their world tour throughout the galleries. Along the way, presenters from Penn cultural student associations and community partners share aspects of their countries’ holiday festivals, history, cuisine, and traditions—and stamp guest passports. Passports stamped with four or more countries earn a small memento.
Members of the Bhartiya Vidalaya Cultural Center help visitors try on saris, draping yards of colorful fabric with precision. They also demonstrate the folk art of Rangoli (sand art) on the Museum’s floors. Rangoli is thought to bring good luck, and can be offered at festivals and marriage celebrations.
Lajna Ima’illah, the women’s auxiliary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community,share information about Islamic festivals, art, and history. Opportunities for children include writing one’s name in Arabic plus henna hand art.
Guests can also discover the cultural and holiday traditions of Brazil, China, India, and more during the celebration with presenters from International Classroom, an innovative program within the Penn Museum that offers international and multicultural education for a variety of ages using a broad range of presentations, lectures, and workshops. Since its inception in 1961, several thousand international students have participated in International Classroom programs, offering a first- hand perspective on specific countries or regions.
Face Painting, Treats, Sweets
Beginning at 1:00 pm, guests can enjoy balloon artists and Peanut butter’s face painting troupe. Make-and-take craft tables invite visitors to create Penn Museum-inspired ornaments, and children can refuel with a free cupcake from CxRA (Catering by Restaurant Associates) while supplies last.
The Museum Shop features a wide range of international books, games, arts, crafts, clothing and jewelry, and joins with the Annual Holiday Sale, welcoming shoppers to save 10% (20% for Museum members). University of Pennsylvania staff and students, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania staff (with PennCard or employee ID) enjoy 15% off.
Partners at the Event
The 20th Annual Peace around the World holiday celebration provides visitors the chance to spread goodwill beyond the Museum’s galleries throughout the region and around the world. Peace Day Philly welcomes families to craft peace cranes that will be sent to children affected by the earthquake in Nepal earlier this year. Guests can discover meaningful ways to inspire youth through the programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA. The Penn Ice Rink invites families to extend their fun on the University of Pennsylvania campus by joining a public skate session (separate admission required). The Walnut Street West branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia joins in the celebration, with a display of holiday traditions books for children and adults, and the opportunity for Philadelphia residents to sign up for a library card.