Press

SALEM, Mass.–The Peabody Essex Museum announced today the successful completion of a fundraising campaign that fueled the institution’s transformation into a major museum of art and culture. With an original goal of $175 million, the museum reported it surpassed the goal, raising $194 million–ten times more than any amount previously raised for the institution. A gala was held at the museum on April 8th to thank benefactors and celebrate the campaign’s success.

“This campaign was designed to support some very ambitious goals,” said Dan Monroe, executive director and chief executive officer at the Peabody Essex Museum. “Beyond addressing the need for a new, expanded facility, the goal was to create a new kind of art museum–one that celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity, connects art to the world in which it was made, and through its exhibitions and programs, creates experiences that meaningfully and positively impact people’s lives.”

“We cannot adequately express our deep appreciation and thanks to the Board of Trustees, the staff, volunteers, and the patrons and donors who, through their generosity and commitment, made this project an extraordinary success.”

More than 1,800 donors gave to the museum’s Third Century Campaign. This transformational project provided more than 250,000 square feet of new and renovated facilities, including a striking new 110,000 square foot wing, and added Yin Yu Tang, an important historic house from China to the museum’s world-renowned collection of architecture. It also allowed for the reinterpretation and reinstallation of work from PEM’s permanent collection of over 1.8 million works from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Pacific Islands, and Africa, as well as its outstanding collections of Native American Art, Architecture and Design, American Decorative Art, Maritime Art and History, and Photography. Many of these collections are considered to be among the finest in the nation, yet several had never publicly been displayed at any time since the Museum’s founding in 1799.

In addition, the campaign increased endowment to $85 million; funded acquisition of 8,900 new works of art to PEM collections; supported an ambitious exhibition program involving collaborations with museums around the world; funded new initiatives including: a nationally innovative internship program that helps high school students increase knowledge and appreciation of art while building leadership skills; Atrium Alive! a visual art and performance series offered free to visitors; programs to support the understanding of Asian collections and engagement with Asian communities, and an array of outstanding school programs, serving over 22,000 young people each year (see complete campaign project list below).

According to survey data from the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), the museum has reached several key milestones since its reopening in June 2003. It now stands among the top 14 percent of art museums in North America in size of facilities, size of exhibition space, operating budget, total annual attendance, and size of collections (PEM is now the second largest art museum in New England and among the eighteen largest such museums in North America, with collections ranking third largest in North America).

While such ratings underscore the museum’s standing among its peers, visitor satisfaction is a more compelling and rewarding illustration of the museum’s success, said Monroe. According to a national survey firm retained by the Museum (Morey and Associates), over 82 percent of all visitors to the new museum rank their satisfaction as a nine or 10 out of a scale of 10, one of the highest ranking ever recorded by the firm.

“Visitors are responding enthusiastically to this new way of interpreting PEM’s collections and to the experience we are providing at the museum,” said Monroe. It is extremely gratifying to see such a strong response.”

The completion of the Peabody Essex Museum’s fundraising campaign also marks a beginning, noted John O. Parker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “During the next decade, the museum must further strengthen and enhance its exhibitions, programs, and collections in recognition that excellence is a process, not an endpoint. We thank our supporters for helping realize the remarkable and–in many ways–unprecedented achievements of this project, and we hope they will continue in the drive to enrich people’s lives through the activities and collections of a unique museum.”

Robert N. Shapiro, chairman of the Museum Development Council, added, “The generosity of our donors energizes the programs and exhibitions through which PEM touches the lives of visitors of all ages–longtime members and new arrivals to the museum family. We begin our third century looking ahead with excitement, as a leading national and international museum.”

Projects funded by the Third Century Campaign

Construction of a new 110,000 square foot addition, including:

—A dramatic Atrium to welcome visitors new permanent galleries for Maritime and American Art a new changing exhibition suite, allowing PEM to bring outstanding exhibitions from other museums around the world

—The new 190-seat, state-of-the-art Morse Auditorium

—The Idea Studios, featuring the new Art & Nature Center, Media Studio, and workshop/classroom space

Preservation and re-erection of a 200-year old, Qing Dynasty House, Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Chinese house of its kind in the world outside of China Renovation and reinstallation of virtually all existing galleries, totaling 140,000 square feet of pre-existing space Installation of PEM collections, such as the Native American, Indian, Korean, and African collections, never before seen by the public

Creation of the first gallery at a museum in the United States devoted to Indian Contemporary Art of the twentieth century, displaying the Herwitz Collection

Renovation and restoration of the Phillips Library, one of America’s great private research libraries Renovation and restoration of historic East India Marine Hall, a National Historic Landmark Renovation and development of historic Salem Armory for collections storage, also housing the National Park Service

Creation of new Armory Park, commemorating the Second Corps of Cadets Development of Axelrod Garden Walkway, linking Essex and Charter Streets Renovation and development of a new Museum Office Center in the historic L. H. Rogers Building

Acquisition of over 8,900 new works of art to PEM collections, and gifts for acquisition through purchase of new works totaling over $26 million

Endowment enhanced through an additional $20 million in principal and through strong market growth, bringing current total to $83 million

Development of new education initiatives, such as the nationally innovative Museum Action Corps internship program to help high school students build leadership skills; Atrium Alive! a visual art and performance series offered free to visitors, the Freeman Foundation’s initiative to support the understanding of Asian collections and engagement with Asian communities, and an array of outstanding school programs, serving over 22,000 young people each year, and symposia

Creation of an innovative new website and ArtScape, a web-based knowledgebase linked to the museum’s audio-tour. PEM’s website is among the top 10 most visited museum websites in the world, with 5,000,000 hits per month

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PR Contacts:

April Swieconek  -  Director of Public Relations  -  978-745-9500 X3109  -  april@pem.org

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Senior Press Officer  -  978-745-9500 X3228  -  whitney_vandyke@pem.org

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