University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

What in the World?

Pablo Helguera’s What in the World project is inspired by the early 1950s television program of the same name. Produced by the Penn Museum, and created by its then director Froelich Rainey, What in the World was a pioneering museum education project during the dawn of the telecommunications age. Helguera will bring the spirit of the original program into the information age, incorporating social media tools such as YouTube and iPhone applications.

Helguera will produce a season’s worth of episodes, loosely formatted in the original television show’s structure. Using objects from the collection, the What in the World will become a documentary of sorts, highlighting individuals and anecdotes illustrative of the museum’s history. Each episode will feature current museum staff members, artists and other individuals who may be able to contribute a unique insight on the objects. The episodes will also be available online.

A What in the World installation will feature a re-created set from the famous television program, Museum artifacts, and a series of videos designed to provide "an unauthorized biography"  of the Museum.  The installation will be on view on the Museum's 3rd floor, January 29 through April 11 (preview January 28, special event February 28, see sidebar.)

Pablo Helguera is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, and performance. Considering the relationship between history, cultural production and language, Helguera fictionalizes the real, generating commentary and discussion about our surrounding cultural reality and relationship to time. His work often adopts the format of the lecture, museum display strategies, musical performances and written fiction.

About the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum has conducted more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions around the world. Three gallery floors feature materials from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, Asia and the ancient Mediterranean World, as well as artifacts from native peoples of the Americas, Africa and Polynesia. Exhibitions are housed in a grand, Renaissance-style building with eclectic features, including Tiffany mosaics, vaulted ceilings, and a rotunda.  The Museum’s Stoner Courtyard with its centerpiece fountain, the Warden Garden and fish pond, and inner gardens, provide green spaces for relaxation and reflection. With educational programming for children and adults, the Penn Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind’s collective heritage. Amenities include two shops and a cafe.

Out of Print

Program support for Out of Print is provided by The Barra Foundation, Inc. Out of Print is a collaboration between Philagrafika and five historic collections in Philadelphia including: the American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Rosenbach Museum & Library; and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology.



Venue Information

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
3260 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324



Phone: (215) 898-4000




Museum Hours:
Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4:30 pm; Sunday 1 to 5 pm. Closed Mondays, and holidays.


Admission donation is $10 for adults; $7 for senior citizens (65 and above); $6 for children (6 to 17) and full-time students with ID; free to Penn Museum Members, PennCard holders, and children 5 and younger.


Philagrafika 2010 Google Map