Press \\ Press Release

PEM Appoints New Head Librarian

Released May 13, 2019


Dan Lipcan of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Thomas J. Watson Library Joins PEM’s Phillips Library

SALEM, MA — The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) announces the appointment of Dan Lipcan as Head Librarian of the museum’s Phillips Library. Lipcan joins PEM in May from the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where, during a distinguished 16-year tenure, he became Associate Museum Librarian. Leading Watson’s digitization program, which now provides free online access to more than a million pages of content, Lipcan directed important digital projects such as the Brummer Gallery Records, Japanese Illustrated Books, and American Decorated Publishers Bindings—building a track record of successful collaboration with curatorial departments, Museum Archives, and partner institutions. He co-founded Watson Library’s blog In Circulation, now approaching five years of biweekly publication, and is a member of its Editorial Board. Dan was Program Co-Chair for the 2018 Art Libraries Society of North America’s Annual Conference.

At the Phillips Library, Lipcan will report to John D. Childs, PEM’s Chief of Collection Services and the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library. He will 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’s comprehensive knowledge of library systems and technology, combined with his extensive experience at a major art museum’s research library uniquely positions him to help PEM enhance scholarly access, and strengthen our collections and operations,” said Childs. “His passion for research will support the museum’s curatorial efforts and his creativity will inspire new ways of engaging visitors and patrons.”

“It is an honor to become the Phillips Library’s next Head Librarian—and to join this vibrant museum, with its phenomenal library collection, at such an exciting time,” said Lipcan. “I look forward to collaborating creatively with the Library and PEM staff to activate the collection in new ways, to expand online and in-person access, and to integrate the Phillips Library further with the museum and the community. As a Cape Cod native, I eagerly anticipate a return to my home state and the forthcoming opportunities to build productive relationships in Salem, in Essex County, and beyond.”

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 were focused on cataloging over 250,000 records for Philcat, PEM’s online library catalog and WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalog. During this process, it was determined that 50,000 of these catalog records reference singular, one-of-a-kind documents.

In the last year, 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 the Digital Commonwealth Lab at Boston Public Library, PEM’s Phillips Library will soon be able to provide 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 on a regular drop-in schedule each week and by prior appointment Monday - Friday from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM. For more information please visit:

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 affords 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 such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays, 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

Photo Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Media Relations Contact:

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