Penn Museum

Penn Museum is located on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia. The original building dates to 1887, with the Harrison Wing opening in 1915. The Museum has a long and significant history of conducting archaeological and anthropological expeditions around the world and acquiring the majority of the discoveries made during these excavations.

The 3-phase project is aimed at modernizing the Museum’s presentation of artifacts as well as enhancing the visitor experience. All 3 phases are expected to complete in 2021 and will be the most extensive upgrade the museum has had in over 100 years. Playing a significant role in the Museum’s upgrade, Altieri is responsible for the careful insertion of a tightly controlled climate system into the existing fabric of a building that has been without any such controls. Central to the work of Phase I was the introduction of climate control system infrastructure for the Upper and Lower Egyptian Galleries and the Rotunda, as well as providing climate control to the Harrison Auditorium via a displacement system. Additional areas of Phase 1 include the Crossroads Gallery and a new multi-level interconnection between the Harrison Wing and the Coxe Wing. Phase 2, currently beginning design, and Phase 3, to be designed starting in 2019, will introduce climate control into the Upper and Lower Egyptian Galleries and the Rotunda spaces, as well as the Archival Storage spaces.

We presented the Penn Museum project at the 2020 Building Museums™ Symposium on March 6, 2020, and then again as a webinar on April 1, 2020. Creativity & Collaboration is an absorbing look behind the scenes as the 120-year old museum works to preserve its historic interiors while integrating state-of-the-art MEP and structural systems in a dramatic upgrade designed to transform the way visitors engage with the past through an extraordinary collection. The program is presented by project partners: Penn Museum, Gluckman Tang Architects, Altieri, and Simpson Gumpertz & Heger.

Creativity & Collaboration: Transforming the Historic Penn Museum

Images © Susan Fisher Plotner / Altieri

Read More


Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Completion Date: Phase I - 2019

Architects: Gluckman Tang Architects

Awards: LEED Silver 2021

Altieri Services: MEPF