About PEM \\ Leadership Transition

PEM director to retire, search for new director underway

October 2018

Dear Friends of PEM,

I am writing to let you know that after 25 years as executive director and CEO of the Peabody Essex Museum, I am announcing my retirement, effective September 2019. 

 It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to lead PEM through a wholesale transformation that began in 1993 with the consolidation of two small museums and has led to the creation of an art museum that operates on a global stage, is widely recognized for innovation and excellence, and ranks among the top ten percent of American art museums as measured by budget size and other metrics.

PEM’s accomplishments over the past quarter of a century include the following:

  • Established a new mission to create experiences of art, culture, and creative expression that transform people’s lives;

  • Creation of new education and public programs serving families, children, and adults throughout New England;

  • Increased operating budget from $3 million to $33 million;

  • Increased endowment from $23 million to more than $500 million;

  • Achieved and maintained the highest visitor satisfaction ratings among more than 80 major museums nationwide since 2003;

  • Increased annual on-site attendance from 60,000 to up to more than 270,000;

  • Created a changing exhibition program that routinely presents groundbreaking exhibitions spanning the entire spectrum of global artistic expression and serves up to a million people annually through presentation of PEM exhibitions at first-tier art museums worldwide;

  • Established innovative methods of presenting and interpreting art, including the the first application of neuroscience to the design of art experiences and the first appointment of a full-time neuroscientist at an art museum;

  • Acquired art valued at more than $100 million through purchase and donations;

  • Established contemporary art as a core part of PEM’s exhibitions and programs;

  • Raised more than $800 million in two campaigns to advance PEM and carry out its mission;

  • Designed and constructed more than 270,000 square feet of new facilities and preserved and restored tens of thousands of square feet of existing facilities.

These and other achievements are the result of the talent, commitment, and investment of PEM’s exceptional staff, Board of Trustees, Board of Overseers, volunteers, and you, our patrons and members.

PEM’s history as America’s oldest continuously operated museum, founded in 1799, and as one of the fastest growing art museums in the nation over the past quarter of a century is singular. During the next several months leading up to a leadership transition, we will continue to make exciting progress by furthering work on our new 112,000-square-foot Collection Center, by completing the new 40,000-square-foot Gallery Expansion Project, now under construction, and by opening the new Wing with the first set of entirely new installations of our large and diverse collections next summer. Many other projects will also be carried forward. Most important, PEM is positioned to continue to innovate, grow, and thrive in the years to come.

Art has been a central part of our identity for more than seventy thousand years. Art and creative expression are critical to our future. I cannot adequately thank you for your shared commitment to PEM and the PEM Family over the past twenty-five years and, above all, for your leadership and generous investments in helping PEM create experiences of art, culture, and creative expression that truly help millions of people at home and around the world see themselves and our world in a new light. Thank you!



Dan L. Monroe
The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO
Peabody Essex Museum

About PEM \\ Leadership Transition


Press \\ Press Release

Dan Monroe Announces Retirement

About PEM

Leadership at PEM