Journey to the City

February 17, 2017   tags: Masterplan

Penn. Museum, Philadelphia - First Cities to Future Cities – Near East Galleries

Interpretation Masterplan – Rebranding – Communications Strategy


Home to one of the most important collections of archaeological artefacts, writings and expertise in the world Penn Museum is redisplaying and re-curating its internationally important Ancient Near East Collections  inspired by its new mission to;


'transform our  understanding of the human experience '.


TGAC have helped the museum devise an interpretation strategy to tell the story of humanity's move from dispersed communities to what we today recognise as cities - and created a cultural system and collective identity that sees its legacy reflected across the world to this day.


“The faster things change, the farther back in time I have to look to make sense of them.”  - Dr. Brian Spooner, University of Pennsylvania


The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is home to one of the oldest and most comprehensive collections of artefacts and archives in the world. Since the 19th century the Museum has worked throughout the Ancient Near East excavating historical sites, collecting and researching artefacts and studying the writings and ethnography of the region which form the foundations of modern life; how small groups created the first settlements developed agriculture and invented urban living. TGAC are working with the curatorial and collections staff of world-renowned archaeologists, historians and subject experts, to create a compelling and narrative driven solution.


TGAC and designers Hayley Sharp Design have been working together to create a masterplan for the comprehensive redesign and redisplay of this much-revered collection and tackling the institution's rebranding and communications strategy. We examined these ancient archives and collections and created a compelling and narrative driven exploration of the formative steps towards modern cities. Through these collections and the stories that go with them, we trace cities from the developing rituals of burial, food production and storage and the production of wine more than seven millennia ago, to the construction of hierarchies, specialisations, infrastructure, belief systems and monumental buildings.


This is a guided guided, historical Journey to the City, showing how the same key principles that drove the first cities still drive cities today:  Settle, Organise, Make, Believe, and Connect.