University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

This phased project focused on reimagining and renovating the historic Harrison (1915) and Coxe (1924) wings, containing Penn Museum’s signature galleries. The project improved the visitor experience; upgraded the MEP, lighting, acoustic and accessibility systems; and retained the Museum’s historic character. Phase One, which opened in November 2019, focused on the Kamin Lobby, visitor circulation and Harrison Auditorium. Phases Two and Three include restoring and upgrading the galleries.

The Harrison and Coxe wings, totaling 82,000-sf, were early additions to the original building (1899) and had remained essentially untouched for almost a century.

The museum's prize treasure, the 12.5-ton sphinx, was relocated from a basement gallery to the Kamin Lobby, the Museum’s main public entrance. It is now the first artifact that welcomes visitors. To accomplish this, the museum store was relocated, the stair to Harrison Auditorium was removed and the floor was structurally reinforced to support the 3,000-year-old sphinx.

The Hinge is a circulation element that strengthen the connections between the Kamin Lobby, the Coxe Wing galleries and the Harrison Auditorium. Originally, a narrow dark stair led to a cramped gallery. This project expanded the corridor leading to a new elevator and public stair, introduced natural light into the spaces through a new window wall and reopened original windows and skylights.

Renovations to the Harrison Auditorium improved accessibility and patron comfort while retaining the historic character of the space. New air conditioning, state-of-the-art stage lighting, and audio-visual systems were installed allowing the 620-seat space to serve as a multi-purpose venue.