Graduate Architecture

Paul Germaine McCoy

Accessing Artifacts, Andrew Saunders

Fall 2018

Access by definition is a means of approaching or entering a place. To today’s visitor, it is a means of being in a presence of artifacts that sit in a decontextualized archive within the Penn Museum. Despite this physical removal, the anthropology of the artifacts is embedded in the materials that describe their geometry; every surface telling a story about their origins, every edge and crack reminding us of the journey that has brought it to this precious and fragile state. If these artifacts hold such importance to our culture, then the new archive should demand that our culture contemplates the privilege of accessing them in a special, restricted, and controlled space deep within the museum.