The Peabody Essex Museum began in 1799, when the charter of the East India Marine Society called for the establishment of a "cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” and members of the Society began bringing home objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania, India, the northwest coast of America, and elsewhere.
Today's collection includes 1.8 million works from cultures around the world: paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects, dating from the 1700s to the present.
Considerable architectural interest is found in the National Historic Landmark East India Marine Hall (1825); the Moshe Safdie-designed glass and brick building expansion; and Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese (Qing Dynasty) sixteen-bedroom house, reconstructed on the Peabody Essex Museum site.
Whether or not you go, numerous publications provide in-depth views of the varied collections held by PEM. To learn more, click on Related Links, to the right.
For example, Treasures of Chinese Export Ceramics: From the Peabody Essex Museum considers the remarkable examples of export wares brought back to the West by the sea captains and traders involved in extensive trade with Asia, providing a foundation for the museum's world-renowned collection of Chinese export ceramics. It is one of the most authoritative sources on this topic, featuring scholarly entries on more than 275 objects, dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century.
Multi-sensory installation investigates the connections, metaphors, and experiences of human beings in nature
Exploring American art and culture spanning three centuries
Works from the past four decades