Exhibition

Maritime Art Gallery

On view September 28, 2019 to January 1, 2022

PEM’s Maritime art collection, which is the finest in the country, frames the sea as an enduring source of opportunity as well as peril, a force that inspires creativity and innovation, and encourages engagement with the wider world. This installation offers a global perspective on our creative response to the sea, from a 17th-century brass Pakistani astrolabe to Valerie Hagerty’s monumental Shipwrecked Armoire with Barnacles (2012) and artworks that reflect Salem’s rich history of maritime trade and exploration. Immersive digital media amplify compelling stories that lay behind unassuming objects, like a calendar stick from 1803 whose carved notches record the long days that Rhode Island native, James Drown, spent shipwrecked and left for dead on Tristan da Cunha, a remote speck island in the South Atlantic.

Share your impressions on social media using the hashtag #PEMmaritime.

Model of RMS Queen Elizabeth,
Stern detail of Bassett-Lowke LTD, Model of RMS Queen Elizabeth, 1947– 1948. White mahogany, gunmetal, brass. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of Cunard Line Ltd.. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
stick chart
Micronesian artist, stick chart, late 19th century. Wood, shell, cordage. Gift of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Jeffrey Dykes.
William Rush, figurehead
Detail of William Rush, figurehead, 19th century. Wood (pine), paint. Museum purchase. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.
Tatara (canoe)
Yami artist, Tatara (canoe), date unknown. Wood, pigment/paint. Built by the Yami tribe in Taiwan for night fishing. Gift of Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek © Peabody Essex Museum
punch bowl
English artist, punch bowl, 1800-1801. Glazed creamware. East India Marine Society Collection. Gift of Benjamin Hodges. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver.
planespheric astrolabe
Maquim Muhammed, planespheric astrolabe, 15th-16th century from Lahore, Pakistan. Brass. Gift of Richard Wheatland. © Peabody Essex Museum.
Sailing from Salem Harbor on the 21st of February 1802
George Ropes, Sailing from Salem Harbor on the 21st of February 1802, painted before 1819. Oil on canvas. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Jeffrey Dykes.
two-stem smoking pipe
Indonesian artist, two-stem smoking pipe, ca. 1790. Metal, wood. East India Marine Society Collection. Gift of Captain Jonathan Carnes. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Walter Silver.
Ship Southern Cross in Boston Harbor
Fitz Henry Lane, Ship Southern Cross in Boston Harbor, painted 1851. Oil on canvas. Gift of the Estate of Stephen Wheatland. © Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Mark Sexton.
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