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Three Iraqi natives and a Syrian have been enlisted as guides to share a modern cultural perspective with visitors to new Middle Eastern galleries at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia. The guides sprinkle personal stories among historic content as they lead groups through the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology's new galleries, telling tales going back 10,000 years.On a recent tour, guide Abdulhadi al-Karfawi pointed out cuneiform tablets used for accounting, legal text and, in one case, a schoolboy's recounting of an argument with his father.Rusty Baker, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group PA Museums, said programs like the Penn Museum's Global Guides provide visitors with a richer experience and could help grow audiences.At Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary historic site, former prisoners and guards lead tours, he said, while some tribal museums feature Native American guides.Penn Museum will continue to expand the Global Guides program, Owens said, as it opens two new galleries showcasing Mexico/Central America and Africa in the next year.
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