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      Press Release

      PEM’s Native American Fellowship Program Strengthened by $1.3M Mellon Foundation Grant

      Released January 10, 2019

      Grant amplifies PEM’s landmark program to support and cultivate the next generation of museum leaders

      SALEM, MA — The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $1.3M grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support its landmark Native American Fellowship program. Heading into its tenth year, PEM’s fellowship program ensures that talented Native Americans acquire the experience, knowledge, and skills they need to become impactful cultural leaders. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant will help PEM’s Native American Fellowship program continue to thrive and excel for years to come.

      PEM’s Native American Fellowship program was founded in 2010 in response to the notable underrepresentation of Native Americans working in the museum field. The program is the first of its kind in the nation and is designed to foster the next generation of Native American museum, cultural, and academic leaders who will play an important role in the development and preservation of Native American art and culture. Through on-the-job museum training and leadership intensives, PEM’s Native American Fellows are given meaningful professional opportunities to build their resumés while learning critically important skills related to organizational development, management, strategic planning, negotiation, creative problem-solving, fundraising, marketing and communications. Alumni of PEM’s Native American Fellowship program have gone on to obtain important positions in cultural heritage institutions across the country.

      “We deeply appreciate the AWM Foundation’s support for PEM’s landmark Native American Fellowship Program,” said Dan Monroe, PEM’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO. "PEM has the oldest Native American art collection in the hemisphere. We are dedicated to presenting and interpreting the art and culture of more than 500 Native American tribes in innovative new ways in order to help erode old misconceptions and to generate new understanding and appreciation for the truly extraordinary artistic and cultural genius of America’s first peoples. We also believe we have a responsibility to help support continuing creativity and advancement of Native Americans. The Mellon Foundation’s support for our Native American Fellowship Program enables us to provide leadership training to talented young Native Americans who will be future cultural leaders of Native American communities nationwide.”

      This $1.3M Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant follows a previously awarded grant from 2016 that enabled PEM to fundamentally restructure and expand its Native American Fellowship program. The continued generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow PEM to enhance its programmatic offerings, allow for longitudinal evaluation, and to bolster alumni support and outreach efforts.

      Karen Kramer, Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture, and Director of the Native American Fellowship Program remarks, "It is exciting to be at the fore of breaking down boundaries and creating bridges between Native art and culture and museum audiences. By providing a platform for emerging Native professionals to augment and gain skills necessary to pursue their careers, we are cultivating a sea change in the wider world. Our program aims to remove barriers that may otherwise prevent fellows from participating — housing, paid positions, and travel expenses. And, by fostering a safe and nurturing environment through mentorship and leadership training, we all can observe, listen, and truly create change."

      PEM’s Native American art and culture collection is the oldest in the western hemisphere and contains some of the finest works created over the past several centuries. Works from 10,000 years ago to the present cross boundaries of region, period, and medium and emphasize the continuum of creativity that has always characterized Native American art. Over the last 20 years, the museum has produced numerous major exhibitions that celebrate Native American art and culture, many of which have traveled nationally. PEM has been at the fore of engaging Native American artists and scholars in the exhibition development process and is committed to dismantling long-standing negative cultural stereotypes while advancing the public’s understanding of Native American art and culture. PEM presents Native art and culture in ways that honor the diverse worldviews, ongoing vitality, and creative continuities and expressions of artists and their respective cultures, worldviews, and histories.

      Karen Kramer, PEM’s Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture, and Rachel Allen (Nez Perce), Native American Fellow alumni and current PEM Assistant Curator, study artwork by T.C. Cannon (Kiowa/Caddo, 1946-1978). Photography by Bob Packert/PEM.

      Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

      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

      Public Relations Contact
      Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Communications | | 978-542-1828