Press \\ Press Release

Dan Lipcan appointed as the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library

Released February 5, 2021

Dan Lipcan, the Ann C. Pingree Director of PEM’s Phillips Library

SALEM, MA — The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is pleased to announce that Dan Lipcan has been appointed as the Ann C. Pingree Director of PEM’s Phillips Library. Lipcan, who has served as PEM’s Head Librarian since 2019, has made significant headway in enhancing scholarly access, strengthening the library’s collections and operations, and increasing the library’s presence in the Museum’s galleries. In his new role, Lipcan will continue to lead ongoing digitization projects and help transform the highly-respected research library — with its rich and varied global collections — into an innovative and active intellectual hub that supports the overall mission of the museum.

"Dan has shown incredible dedication and leadership and we are delighted to see him assume this new role,” said John Childs, PEM’s Director of Collections. “He has spearheaded significant digitization initiatives and greatly expanded the amount of library material that is accessible via the internet. Notably, he was able to raise the profile of the Phillips Library, even during the pandemic, by creating and organizing online events and programs that have expanded our audience, and by significantly strengthening our ties to our sister library institutions throughout the region.”

Over the last two years Lipcan has served as curator of My Dear Davey and Chester…” featuring the personal archive of letters and photographs from modern Indian art collectors Chester and Davida Herwitz and the second exhibition in a new gallery dedicated to showcasing material from the Phillips Library; and served as co-curator of Salem Witch Trials 1692, which presented rarely-exhibited original witch trial documents from the Library’s collection. He has reorganized the structure of the library staff to better serve all of its users and stakeholders and is in the process of developing a new Library Collection Plan that will help shape activities for the next 5 years.

Prior to his tenure at PEM, Lipcan was the Associate Museum Librarian at Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he led Watson’s digitization program and co-founded the Watson Library’s blog In Circulation. Lipcan holds a BA in Studio Art (Printmaking) from Allegheny College, an MLS from Queens College-CUNY, and in 2017 was selected to participate in the Columbia Business School Executive Development Program at The Met.

Since 2014, PEM’s Phillips Library has been continually enhancing digital access, enabling researchers around the globe to better access its vast and diverse collection. Early efforts focused on creating over 160,000 descriptive records for library materials in Philcat, PEM’s online library catalog and WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalog. During this process, it was determined that the library holds a significant proportion of material that is unique or rare.

In the last several years, PEM’s Phillips Library has undertaken another digitization initiative to make high-priority material widely available online. Working with the Internet Archive, a digital library that partners with the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, The Getty Research Institute, and Harvard University to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge”, over 170 publications from PEM’s Phillips Library collection have been digitized in their entirety and are available online.

Working with Digital Commonwealth at Boston Public Library, PEM’s Phillips Library has provided universal access to more than 3,000 late-19th and early 20th-century photographs from the Frank Cousins Collection which prominently feature houses and cityscapes from Essex County, MA, and the Herman Parker Collection which chronicles boats, yachts and ocean views from Marblehead, MA.

Additionally, PEM’s Phillips Library recently acquired digitization equipment to allow fragile and oversized materials to be safely processed in-house and shared with a global audience.

The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is the Museum’s research library. It includes several hundred thousand printed volumes, a linear mile of manuscript collections as well as thousands of logbooks, account books, diaries, printed ephemera, maps, photo albums, and photographs. The vast collection includes subjects related to Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Oceanic, Native American and other world art and cultures plus subjects related to Essex County art, architecture, history, and culture. Examples of major holdings include the Edward Sylvester Morse collection of manuscripts, books, and photographs of Japan and Korea, Salem Witch Trials documents, the Frederick Townsend Ward collection of Chinese materials, an extensive collection of materials on Chinese architecture, the Nathaniel Hawthorne archive, extensive documentation of the Museum’s collection of 17th-19th century architecture, an extensive collection of 18th- and 19th-century ships logbooks and early maps, the Herwitz collection of modern and contemporary Indian art publications and many other treasures. The Phillips Library Reading Room is located at PEM’s Collection Center in Rowley, MA and is accessible to students, scholars and members of the public by appointment on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 am–12 pm and 1–4 pm. For more information please visit:

The health and safety of PEM’s staff and visitors is our highest priority. PEM has increased its safety protocols, including the frequency and intensity of its sanitation and disinfection efforts across the museum. Face coverings are to be worn at all times. To learn more, visit

© 2019 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.

Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time—including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic, and African art, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM's campus offers a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Thursdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays, 10 am–5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $18; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $6 (plus museum admission). Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit

Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | | 978-542-1828