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      Mission, Vision & Values

      PEM boldly honors creativity as a nourishing force in people’s lives.

      We offer thought-provoking experiences of the arts, humanities, and sciences to activate understanding of our shared humanity and to empower imagination and learning through experimentation. We steward, build, and make our collections accessible to encourage appreciation of the interconnected histories and creativity of people in our complex, always changing world.


      We will be a magnetic, human-centered gathering place — locally, globally, and virtually — where people are inspired to learn and connect as they experience wonder, joy, and comfort.

      Being a human-centered museum means focusing on people as the source of creativity as well as encouraging people to embrace this powerful agent for change and connection. The local and global cross currents of creativity are central to PEM’s story. Our collection and exhibitions are a treasure trove of stories about the distinctiveness and universality of human achievements and struggles across time and place. We will lift up and share these stories through multiple entry points to engage broad audiences with each other and in the life of the museum. We will achieve this vision through expanded innovation and openness in our exhibitions, programming, collections, publishing, and relationships with communities and partners near and far.

      PEM will continue to grow as a leader in our community and among museums.

      Our Core Values

      Creativity is a tie that binds and unifies us.

      Whether creativity expresses itself as art, culture, or the sciences, it embodies our drive to find ways to navigate the world, past, present, or future. People develop culture together through their commonalities and differences. People are story builders and storytellers. Taking inspiration from this,

      We value:

      • openness in recognizing the spectrum of human achievement that art, culture, and the sciences make possible,
      • collaboration as a means to build connection and empathy, and the unexpected in inquiry and experimentation.

      We are committed to:

      • respect for humanity and the environment,
      • the wellbeing of our staff and communities,
      • inclusive, equitable engagement that builds bridges and fosters a sense of belonging and excellence in providing authentic, meaningful experiences and credible knowledge.

      DEIA Commitment

      Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are distinct, interlinked, and critical values that support individuals and communities as they experience the arts, humanities, and sciences at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).

      As a museum that celebrates creativity to advance our shared humanity, we aspire to be an inclusive, equitable cultural organization that motivates, connects, and empowers people through inquiry, empathy, and dialogue. We strive to create and sustain a sense of belonging and to nurture our ability to build bridges.

      We acknowledge that the role of global trade in PEM’s predecessor organizations warrants careful consideration. We commit to being aware and appreciative of differences in order to prevent overlooking, hurting, or excluding anyone. We will continue to work purposefully to remove barriers, whether physical, emotional, or social, so that PEM offers everyone welcoming spaces and experiences where they feel seen, heard, and treated with dignity and respect.

      Everyone at PEM has a role to play in bringing this commitment to life. We will use this commitment statement as a guide in our ongoing work, which includes sharing the accomplishments, setbacks, and challenges of our DEIA journey.

      We welcome comments and suggestions about how we might continue to improve our programs and services for visitors. Please share your feedback in the form below.

      Questions? Email or call 978-542-1623.

      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 Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the PEM Board of Trustees.

      PEM Forward
      Sparking and sustaining creativity is at the heart of PEM FORWARD, the museum’s new strategic plan. This was generated through active listening and careful consideration of our past, present and future. We have taken advice and feedback from almost 400 regional, national and international leaders, partners and supporters, our Boards of Trustees and Advisors, PEM staff and visitors to more deeply understand the opportunities and needs that will help us address how PEM can and will make a difference in people’s lives. Read more below.