Mission & Vision Statement
The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.
More than a decade ago, the Peabody Essex began a comprehensive campaign to conceptually and physically integrate, interpret and exhibit the full breadth of museum collections for the first time in its 200-year history.
The museum also set out to greatly enrich and enhance all its programs. During the last several years, the Peabody Essex has ranked among the top museums in the nation for collection acquisitions through purchase and gift. The institution's $194 million transformation resulted in the creation of a new and major museum, serving people in Greater Boston, New England, the nation and the world. At its opening in June 2003, its facilities ranked among the 25 largest art museums in the nation. The suite of new galleries dedicated to changing exhibitions is among the largest on the East Coast. As of 2015, the Peabody Essex Museum has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America.
The Peabody Essex has emerged as a new and different kind of museum — one that creates a richer experience for visitors by bringing art, architecture and culture together in new ways, and by presenting art in the world in which it was made. Astonishingly, given the superlative quality and scope of museum holdings, the majority of collection areas had never been adequately exhibited. Most had not been exhibited at all. The Peabody Essex is now able to interpret its singular collection in ways that invite visitors to discover the inextricable connections that link artistic and cultural traditions, connections that have always influenced art and culture and that now characterize our lives in a global community. By presenting contemporary and historical work, the museum can help link the past and the present.
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.
The mission of the Peabody Essex Museum is to celebrate outstanding artistic and cultural creativity by collecting, stewarding, and interpreting objects of art and culture in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, engage the mind, and stimulate the senses. Through its exhibitions, programs, publications, media, and related activities, PEM strives to create experiences that transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world.
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 is committed to meeting the highest professional standards in the development, management, care, and preservation of its collections.
Interpretive Philosophy and Methods
Presentation and interpretation of outstanding contemporary and historical works of art and culture resides at the core of the museum's mission and methods. PEM presents and interprets works of art and culture in ways that connect art to the world in which it is made by creatively fusing art, culture, and history; connecting the past to the present by acquiring and exhibiting both contemporary and historical works; and encouraging people to discover and explore the rich interconnections among international artistic and cultural expressions and traditions. As a people-centered museum, PEM's resources are dedicated to providing compelling and meaningful experiences to diverse audiences. PEM aims to make a lasting and positive difference in the lives of the public it serves.
Ethics and Professional Standards
PEM seeks to achieve the highest professional standards in caring for its collections, sharing its scholarly and creative efforts, and managing its financial and human resources. In doing so, PEM embraces and adheres to the standards and practices established by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the American Association of Museums (AAM), and the PEM Board of Trustees.