Fridays – The Sphinx That Moved to Philadelphia

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Fridays – The Sphinx That Moved to Philadelphia

6/14 & 6/21@ 11:00 AM/CH

Instructor: Stephen “Dr. Steve” Phillips, Ph.D.

June 12, 2019, is a date that will live forever in the history of the renowned 130-year-old Penn Museum. On that day, for the first time in nearly a century, the museum’s iconic, 12.5 ton (!) sphinx was lifted from its base, moved more than 900 feet (and one floor up!) into its new permanent home, to become the centerpiece of the museum’s totally redesigned grand entrance hall. The first part of the class sets the stage by examining an obvious, but often overlooked, question – just what is a sphinx, anyway? What did a sphinx represent to the ancient Egyptians? What did the sphinx crouched in front of the Great Pyramids mean to the Egyptians themselves? For example, we’ll see an 80-ton sphinx discovered in-situ in the early 20th century that had been carved from white alabaster over 3,000 years-ago. The second part of the class retraces the history of the Penn Museum’s sphinx (itself the largest sphinx in the entire Western Hemisphere) – from its discovery in Egypt at Memphis in the early 20th century, its subsequent transport to Philadelphia, concluding with a behind the scenes look at the engineering and human effort involved in moving such an object, both monumental and priceless, in today’s world