April 23 marks National Sovereignty Day in Turkey, a celebration commemorating the first gathering of the Grand National Assembly in 1920. It’s also Children’s Day, which allows youth to take seats in the Parliament and symbolically govern the country for one day.
“Children will carry on the dreams for the country,” says Abdullah Pekel, a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant from Adana, Turkey. “There’s a source of inspiration around it.”
Image previewPekel, who’s taught Turkish in Penn’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations since last summer, will talk about the special holiday to help kick off the Penn Museum’s next World Culture Day—“Turkish Delight!”—on Saturday, April 23. Celebratory activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“From lectures and contextual information on Turkey or hands-on craft projects or interactive gallery tours, we’ll have a little something for everyone,” says Jennifer Reifsteck, the Museum’s public programs manager.
Groove with the Turquoise Turkish Folk Dance Group, made up of dancers from the Turkish Student Association at Penn State, and watch as sacred dance instructor Ibrahim Miari demonstrates Sufi dance, a form of physically active meditation. Attendees can test their skills in a Turkish cooking contest, learn the basics of the Turkish language, and hear a choral performance by the Turkish American Friendship Society of the United States.
As a fun homage to the holiday, children who attend will be able to enter their names for a chance to become “honorary directors” of the Museum for the day.
And, of course, don’t forget to check out the Museum’s special exhibition “The Golden Age of King Midas.” Through more than 120 artifacts that are on special loan from museums in Ankara, Istanbul, Anatalya, and Gordion—in addition to materials from the Museum’s own collections—viewers can learn about King Midas’ life and reign.
Turkish Delight! is part of the Museum’s “Passport to Cultures” program. Guests can pick up a paper “passport” at any admission desk to begin collecting stamps during World Culture Day celebrations. Those who collect 10 or more stamps earn an invitation to a special “Penn Museum Junior Anthropologist” ceremony.
“It’s a great family outing,” says Reifsteck. “It’s so easy to walk past the Museum every day going to and from work. World Culture Days are a fun way to get to know the Penn Museum and its collections.”
Turkish Delight!, presented in conjunction with the Turkish American Friendship Society of the United States and the Middle East Center at Penn, is included with general Museum admission: $15 for adults, $13 for senior citizens, $10 for children and students, and free for active U.S. military, Museum members, PennCard holders, and children under 5. Admission to “The Golden Age of King Midas” is an additional $5.