Drop in Books


Gallery Spots

Stop by one of the galleries to meet a museum educator and discover more about one of the pieces on view.

Story Trails

Join staff members from the Art & Nature Center to explore PEM’s galleries through specific artworks and stories, then participate in a related art-making activity or meet an author or illustrator. For children ages 5-8 with accompanying adult.

PEM Pals

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers. Meets Wednesdays from 10:30am - 11:30 am. No reservations required.

Studio Discoveries

This is a drop-in, hands-on program for families and kids of all ages to get creative and sometimes messy! Explore art-making and art materials in depth while meeting and learning from real artists.

Weekend Art Activities

Make art together inspired by the museum’s collection and special exhibitions. Every Saturday and Sunday, 1—3 pm. No reservations required.

Weekend Festivals: Atrium Alive

Free, fun-filled weekend events for all ages. Art activities, performing arts, workshops, artist demonstrations, tours, films, presentations and more. Some events might require reservations.

School Vacation Week

Programming for children and families held during Massachusetts public school vacations in February and April. Some events might require reservations.

Related events For families

Tree Tales
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

What could a tree tell us if it could talk? Meet Susan Coolidge, author of The Stories Trees Tell, create some tree-inspired art and find out more about the amazing world of trees.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 1pm - 2:30pm Exploring Transformation

Create, play, explore and think with your fingers! This session, held in conjunction with ArtWeek Boston, includes a mini-talk by artist Beth Galston in Branching Out: Trees as Art, a studio workshop transforming tree materials into sculpture led by Galston, and a special meet up with Patrick Dougherty who is constructing an outdoor sculpture at PEM with the help of area volunteers, starting May 7.


Polaroid Transfers
Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 1pm - 3pm Studio Discoveries

Learn how to transfer photos onto just about any surface alongside artist Michelle Rogers Pritzl.


Made possible by American Dental Partners

The First Drawing
Sunday, May 24, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Who created the first drawings on cave walls? What do they tell us about the way people lived long ago? Find out as we read The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein, then learn some charcoal drawing techniques and help us decorate our own art cave!

American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood
Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 10am - 5pm Opening Day

Thomas Hart Benton painted stories about American people and mined Hollywood for his signature style. Through music, film and conversations with the curators, discover how Benton played a leading role in 20th-century American art.



10 am-5 pm | Special Exhibition Galleries | Level 3



The Root Farmers
Noon-1:30 pm | Atrium

Enjoy traditional fiddle styles including Appalachian old-time, blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Irish and swing.



In Conversation with Curators of Art and Film  
2-3 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by June 4

Join Austen Barron Bailly, The George Putnam Curator of American Art and exhibition lead curator, and film expert Matthew Bernstein as they explore the deep connection between Benton's art and Hollywood, as well as Bernstein's role as film curator for the exhibition. Bailly and Bernstein segue to an in-depth discussion of The Grapes of Wrath.



The Grapes of Wrath
3:30-6 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by June 4

The Grapes of Wrath is director John Ford's classic adaptation of the John Steinbeck novel illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton. This film, starring Henry Fonda, captures the impact of the Great Depression on one representative family - the Joads. 1940, 129 minutes. Introduction by film expert Matthew Bernstein.


Made possible by The Lowell Institute