Family Visits


Family Visits

Check out the redesigned and expanded Art & Nature Center and the featured exhibition Branching Out: Trees as Art.

At PEM, we want to make it easy for you and your family to connect with art and culture. Our Art & Nature Center, with hands-on activities, discovery drawers, games and computer stations, is a great place to start.

You can also embark on a treasure hunt of sorts and search for animals or sailing ships in the PEM collection using our complimentary Gallery Discovery Kits.

Check the calendar for the next Weekend Festival and join the rest of the PEM community for unforgettable dance, music, film, art making and opportunities to meet artists and performers. Whatever you choose to do while you’re here — listen to a story during PEM Pals or make a drawing — we want your visit to be relaxing and enjoyable.

Family-friendly Resources

Ships Ahoy!: Gallery Discovery Kit
Ships Ahoy!:Gallery Discovery Kit
Download this family-friendly Gallery Discovery Kit and explore life at sea. PDF Format.

Featured Interactives For Your Family

Related events For families

The First Drawing
Sunday, May 24, 2015 from 2pm - 3pm
Tickets available day of program

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 to help Emily Larsen, a PEM graphic designer, and Kristin Porcello, an education intern and illustration major at Montserrat College of Art, transform our Create Space into an art cave.

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

Included with museum admission

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

Free Fun Friday at PEM
Friday, June 26, 2015 from 10am - 5pm

The Peabody Essex Museum is proud to participate in the annual Free Fun Fridays program sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. On Friday, June 26, 2015, PEM will open its doors with free general admission to visitors all day long. Please note that tickets to Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House are not included.

Free Fun Fridays is a program that includes 66 museums and cultural venues across Massachusetts. Each Friday this summer, there will be between five and eight venues open for free. The program begins Friday, June 26, and runs through Friday, August 28. For the full program schedule and to learn more about Free Fun Fridays, please visit: