For over 100 years, Salem was one of the world’s leading commercial seaports. As local sea captains sailed around the world in pursuit of global trade, they also encountered an extraordinary array of cultures and art. In 1799, these mariners decided to display their treasures in the Peabody Essex Museum. The facility now houses one of the world’s finest collections of artwork and cultural artifacts.
More Information on Peabody
The Peabody Essex is one of the nation’s major museums for Asian art, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indian art, along with the finest collection of Asian Export art extant and 19th-century Asian photography. It presents the earliest collections of Native American and Oceanic art in the nation — all collections of exceptional standing. The historic houses and gardens, and American decorative art and maritime art collections provide an unrivaled spectrum of New England’s heritage over 300 years.
Founded in 1799 by America’s first global entrepreneurs, the Peabody Essex Museum is a museum of international art and culture dedicated to connecting art to the world in which it is made. As the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum, PEM was among the first museums in America to collect works of art and culture from around the world. Its collections of contemporary and historic American, Asian, Maritime, Oceanic, Native American, and African art and culture, as well as its archival library and historic American and Chinese houses, are among the finest of their kind.
PEM’s new wing and renovated galleries offer a distinctive experience that is designed to heighten the feeling of surprise, wonder, delight, and reflection. Fresh installations celebrate the museum’s vast and storied collections in ways that address eternal themes. Visitors will find never before seen rarely exhibited and recently acquired artworks on view.
Tour the galleries of the Peabody Essex Museum where you will see a wide range of works from around the world that create a collection that consists of more than 2.4 million individual pieces.
- Over 2.4 million works of art and cultural objects
- Twenty-four historic buildings
- Yin Yu Tang, the only complete 200-year-old house located outside China ($6 fee)
- PEM has been selected “One of the nation’s ten best art museums for kids” by Child magazine.
- Children age 16 and under are free.
Where Questions Live Exhibit
Where the Questions Live: An Exploration of Humans in Nature is a curiosity-driven, format-bending romp with artist Wes Sam-Bruce, that adventurously investigates the connections, metaphors, and experiences of human beings within the natural world. Best known for his immersive, story-saturated exhibitions, Sam-Bruce creates a site-specific, multi-sensory, installation at PEM that functions as an enveloping world within a world. This exhibition also features an original soundscape, scored by award-winning composer Ruth Mendelson.
Salem Witch Trials Exhibit
In this exhibition, learn more about factors that fueled the storied crisis, including individuals who rose to defend those unjustly accused, and explore two creative responses by contemporary artists with ancestral links to the trials. Both projects directly speak to the historical trauma evident in the authentic 17th-century documents and objects on view and provide a powerful connection between past and present.
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