Professional Development

PEM Teacher Institute tour

Professional Development for Teachers

Come to PEM to get inspired, connect with colleagues and advance your classroom teaching with workshops, artist demonstrations, open houses and other opportunities especially for teachers. Attend an evening session or apply to the PEM Teacher Institute for an immersive summer experience. Check back here throughout the year for the latest teacher programs.

The museum also offers day-long professional development workshops for schools and districts on topics such as object-based teaching, interdisciplinary learning, creative expression and writing inspired by art. Customized workshops are available to groups of 10 or more teachers in the museum or at your school.

Visiting another time? New England educators always receive free admission! Just show your ID. Other educators planning to bring students to the museum can contact us (see below) to arrange a free visit.

To sign-up for monthly email updates or find out more information, contact or 978-542-1546.


Contemporary Art and Art-Centered Learning
Special Presentation with Julia Marshall, Chair of Art Education,
San Francisco State University

Tuesday, July 21, 9:00-10:30 am | Refreshments at 8:30 am
Morse Auditorium

Included with museum admission; free for educators with ID.
RSVP required. Register online.

If today's artists are innovators, how does that influence the way we understand art and its role in education? To address this question, nationally renowned arts-integration expert Julia Marshall discusses how the practices of contemporary artists in the field provide a model for teachers in the classroom.

The core of this model is the notion that art practice is a form of learning — a way of exploring, understanding and changing perceptions of the world through artistic investigation, interpretation and innovation. In schools, that world is the curriculum, and art-centered learning provides an inquiry-based way to integrate art into the academics. Outside of school, that world is the student's interests and art-centered learning offers connections to make studies feel more meaningful and relevant.

To directly connect these ideas to classroom practice, participants will discuss contemporary art, examples of tools, ideas and strategies for implementing the approach in K-16 classrooms, and review visual imagery created by students who adopted an art-centered approach to their work.

Location: Morse Auditorium, Peabody Essex Museum

Meet the beests!
Educator Open House: Strandbeest

Tuesday, September 29
Come anytime between 4 and 7 pm
Free for you and a guest (parking vouchers provided) | RSVP to

Explore the much-anticipated exhibition, Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, tinker and make art with colleagues, and enjoy refreshments. Check back this summer for further details.

PEM Teacher Institute
Artist as Innovator

Monday-Friday, July 20-24, 2015 | 8:30 am-4:15 pm
Optional follow-up session: Saturday, October 3, 9:15 am - 5 pm

The application deadline has passed.

How do artists develop and present their ideas in creative form? What solutions do artists develop to express themselves through art? How is artistic innovation relevant to our world today and what can we learn from artists, their creative process and their authentic integration of ideas and approaches from across disciplines?

Explore this and so much more this summer as we discover new techniques for integrating the arts and fostering innovation. Challenge yourself as a learner and find inspiration, while gathering fresh ideas and pedagogical strategies for your classroom. Collaborate with fellow teachers, create art and contribute to resource materials during this invigorating week of professional development.

This summer's institute features leaders from education, science and art, including nationally renowned arts integration expert Julia Marshall. Marshall's work examines contemporary art and art-centered research as they relate to art education, incorporating art within the academic curriculum, and the intersection between creativity and learning. She will lead a discussion about integrating contemporary art into classroom teaching as well as present a hands-on workshop examining frameworks through which we can examine art and objects in classrooms.

Delve into PEM's collection and special exhibitions with curators and educators to discover how our programs connect to classroom learning and promote creativity, critical thinking and global awareness.

The summer's exhibitions include Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty—a site-specific architectural structure made of saplings—and American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood—an examination of the artist, his cinematic style of painting and his reinvention of national narratives for 20th-century America. In addition, the institute includes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the fall 2015 exhibition Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen. (Watch this three-minute New York Times video to see what all the buzz is about around Jansen's many-legged, larger-than-life kinetic sculptures.)

$150 participant fee (complimentary parking provided). Earn 67.5 hours PDP credit, including follow-up assignments and participation in the October 3 follow-up session (or equivalent). 35 PDPs awarded for the summer course alone. Graduate credit option available.

K-12 educators in all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Application due Monday, April 6. Space is limited. Applicants will be notified by April 10 as to whether they were accepted. Preferential selection for two or more teachers applying from the same school or district. For more information contact us at or 978-542-1546.

Ongoing Professional Development Opportunities for Educators

Interdisciplinary Learning in the Museum and Classroom

Explore interdisciplinary learning against the backdrop of PEM's exhibitions and collection. Inspired by works of art that link the visual arts to a variety of other disciplines, teachers take part in lively discussions, make connections to classroom teaching and practice developing interdisciplinary lesson plans with other participants.

Write at the Museum! Making Objects Come Alive to Promote Literacy Skills

How can objects tell a story? Look at objects in the museum’s collection as inspiration for writing and discover how object-based learning can be applied to classroom teaching. Learn how to view objects with students and how students can develop a variety of written responses to works of art.

Discover the Art of Object-based Teaching!

Objects and artwork come to life through the use of open-ended questioning strategies. Explore the educational potential of objects in PEM’s collection and learn how using objects in your classroom can engage students in inquiry and collaborative learning while building observation and communication skills.

Select Past Programs

PEM Teacher Institute

Annually in the summer

Discover new approaches for integrating the arts and fostering innovation across disciplines. Challenge yourself as a learner and find new inspiration, while gathering fresh ideas and pedagogical strategies for your classroom. Delve into museum collections and special exhibitions, develop resource materials and work with leaders in education, the arts, the humanities, and STEM fields.

Educator Open Houses

Annually in both the fall and spring

Discover the latest exhibitions, create art, take on a design challenge in the Maker Lounge, enjoy refreshments, socialize with colleagues and learn more about upcoming programs. Guest artists have included Kirsten Reynolds (sculptural maquettes), Frank White (woodturning), Julia Han (fashion design) and Robert King (graphic design).

Trees and STE

Tuesday, December 2, 2014, 2:30-4 pm

PEM's first Scientist-in-Residence, Dr. Lisa J. Delissio, Professor of Biology at Salem State University, leads an exciting discussion in the exhibition, Branching Out: Trees as Art. Referencing leaves, seeds, and bark in the artwork on view, Delissio navigates throughout the exhibition to reveal scientific stories about tree life-cycle, adaptation and diversity in the context of the new Massachusetts STE Standards. Learn more about Dr. Delissio on her blog, STEAM for Institutions of Higher Education. Tree-themed refreshments provided. Workshop designed from grade 3-5 teachers.

Aflutter about Art and Science

Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 4-6 pm

Explore PEM's latest contemporary installation, from here to ear, as well as Beyond Human: Artist-Animal Collaborations in the newly renovated Art & Nature Center. Discover more about PEM's approach to arts integration and STEAM-based museum programs, plus try out a few activities to take back to your classroom! Workshop designed for grade 3-12 teachers.

Behind the Scenes: Art Conservation

Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 4-6 pm

Discover the art and science of conservation with PEM's Mimi Leveque. Learn about "museum CSI" techniques used to uncover the history of a work of art and determine the best way to preserve it. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing conservation of an exceptional wooden figurehead by William Rush, one of the great early American artists. See what has been revealed under layer upon layer of paint and what choices are being made at each stage of the figurehead's restoration. Get a preview of the work in progress in this brief video.

Feathers, felt & fascinators

Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 4-7 pm

Join Juliette Fritsch, PEM's chief of education and interpretation and an experienced milliner, for a workshop focused on the creative experience of hat making. Explore millinery materials and construct a fancy fascinator* of your own. High-quality bases, veiling, feathers, ribbon, sinamay and other trims provided. Take your new ready-to-wear fashion item home in a hat box. Arrive early to see -- or revisit -- the exhibition Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones.

Tapestry Artist Demonstration

Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 4-6 pm
Co-presented with the North Shore Art Teachers Association

Join us for a teacher workshop featuring Micala Sidore, a contemporary tapestry artist. Sidore provides an overview of the art form from medieval times through the present day and guides us in a close viewing of the panels in The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries. In addition, the workshop includes a demonstration of weaving techniques and opportunities for participants to try weaving on Sidore's looms.

Arts Integration in the Museum and Classroom

Tuesday, February 7, 2011, 3:30-6 pm
Co-presented with the Salem State Collaborative

Explore arts integration against the backdrop of PEM's new exhibition, Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art. Discover the vitality and diversity of Native American art and culture while making connections to classroom teaching. Inspired by works of art that link the visual arts to social science/history and other disciplines, teachers take part in lively discussions and practice developing arts-integrated lesson plans with other participants. Teachers are welcome to arrive early to explore the museum. Recommended for teachers in grades 3-12.