Last updated: 10/8/2012
Salem, Massachusetts
Street Address
161 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
Mailing Address
161 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
phone: 978-745-9500
web: www.pem.org
Hours
Closed: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
Sunday, Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Open the following Monday holidays: Columbus Day: Monday, October 8, 2012; Veterans Day (observed): Monday, November 12, 2012; New Year’s Eve: Monday, December 31, 2012
Admissions
Salem, Mass. residents admitted free.
Adults: $15
Seniors: $13
Students (): $11
Youth (16 and under): Free
Services
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Cafe/Restaurant
Group Tours
Staff
Dan Monroe, CEO
Description

Special Note:

As the first major step in PEM’s expansion, some galleries are closed for renovation until fall 2013. The refurbished spaces will reopen with the highest level of environmental controls and a steady program of changing exhibitions. Later in 2013, select artworks from the galleries that closed will be on view elsewhere in the museum. Please consult the Gallery Updates below, and the exhibitions and collection pages when planning your visit. Stay tuned for more exciting expansion project news.

True to the spirit of its past, PEM is dedicated to creating a museum experience that celebrates art and the world in which it was made. By presenting art and culture in new ways, by linking past and present, and by embracing artistic and cultural achievements worldwide, the museum offers unique opportunities to explore a multilayered and interconnected world of creative expression.

The museum possessed extraordinary collections — more than 840,000 works of art and culture featuring maritime art and history; American art; Asian, Oceanic, and African art; Asian export art; two large libraries with over 400,000 books, manuscripts, and documents; and 22 historic buildings. Today’s collection has grown to include 1.8 million works and Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside China.

Mission

The roots of the Peabody Essex Museum date to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes who had sailed beyond either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. The society’s charter included a provision for the establishment of a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” which is what we today would call a museum. Society members brought to Salem a diverse collection of objects from the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, India and elsewhere. By 1825, the society moved into its own building, East India Marine Hall, which today contains the original display cases and some of the very first objects collected.

History

The East India Marine Society was founded in Salem, in Essex County, Massachusetts. Salem was also home to the Essex Historical Society (founded in 1821), which celebrated the area’s rich community history, and the Essex County Natural History Society (founded in 1833), which focused on the county’s natural wonders. In 1848, these two organizations merged to form the Essex Institute (the “Essex” in the Peabody Essex Museum’s name). This consolidation brought together extensive and far-ranging collections, including natural specimens, ethnological objects, books and historical memorabilia, all focusing on the area in and around Essex County.

In the late 1860s, the Essex Institute refined its mission to the collection and presentation of regional art, history and architecture. In so doing, it transferred its natural history and archaeology collections to the East India Marine Society’s descendent organization, the Peabody Academy of Science (the “Peabody”). In turn, the Peabody, renamed for its great benefactor, the philanthropist George Peabody, transferred its historical collections to the Essex.

In the early 20th century, the Peabody Academy of Science changed its name to the Peabody Museum of Salem and continued to focus on collecting international art and culture. Capitalizing on growing interest in early American architecture and historic preservation, the Essex Institute acquired many important historic houses and was at the forefront of historical interpretation.

Artifact Collections

To engage the mind and spirit, the PEM collection offers outstanding works primarily from the 1700s to today: paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects. Our African, American, Asian, maritime, Native American and Oceanic art emphasizes the lively conversation that occurs through creativity across time, place and culture.

1.8 million works — many of them the first to be collected in this country — offer experiences unique among American art museums. At PEM, our goal is not to hang art on the walls and then tell you what to think. Deep and far ranging, the collection opens windows onto how people live, work and celebrate. Here, you can explore art and the world in which it is made — revealing and comparing concepts of creativity, individuality, community, tradition, spirituality and even emotion.

Library

The Phillips Library is undergoing a major renovation and remains closed to the public. Please consult the "What’s New" section below and follow us on Twitter @PEMLibrary for updates and additional information.

Access:

Appointment required: No

ADA

Wheelchair Accessible

Services

Daily Tours

We offer daily gallery and house tours for every age and audience. Choose from a brief, focused discussion about a single work of art, tours designed just for families and a unique look at spectacular homes built worlds apart. Tours are included with museum admission. Tickets are available at the admissions desk. Please note that space is limited and tours are subject to availability.

Group Tours

What better way to enjoy PEM than with a group of friends or family? The museum welcomes groups of all ages at reduced rates for a minimum of 10 people. Guided and self-guided tours of the museum’s galleries are available.

Special Event Rental

The beautiful Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the region's most exquisite settings for your special events. Whether you’re planning a corporate banquet or a gathering for close friends and family, the museum offers a variety of spaces that are perfectly suited for creating memorable occasions. Cocktail receptions, wedding ceremonies, formal parties and celebrations and photography are expertly planned and executed with the help of our experienced staff. We look forward to showing you our galleries in person. Together we can plan an event that is truly special.

PEMshop.com

PEMshop.com reflects the very best merchandise from our award-winning Museum Shop. Our mix of jewelry, home décor, apparel, books and more stimulates the mind, invigorates the senses, enriches the spirit and reflects a new museum of art and culture. If you don't see just what you're looking for, please contact us. We'd be delighted to help you.

Gift Shop

Online Gift Shop

Special Event Rental

Restaurant

Group Tours

This information, including business hours, addresses and contact information is provided for general reference purposes only. No representation is made or warranty is given as to its content or the reliability thereof. User assumes all risk of use. Stories USA, Inc. and its content suppliers assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use. Please call ahead to verify the dates, the location and directions.
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MUSEUM CONFERENCES
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ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2022 ANNUAL SUMMIT
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American Association for State and Local History 2022 On-site and Virual Conferences
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