Buy tickets
      Press Release

      Reimagine your relationship with the planet through artwork and immersive experiences that reveal a more sustainable future

      Released December 11, 2023

      Our Time on Earth

      On view February 17 through June 9, 2024

      SALEM, MA — This winter, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) invites you on a transformative journey to reimagine your connection with the living planet. Our Time on Earth, a large-scale exhibition organized by the Barbican Centre in London, with Guest Curators FranklinTill and presented as part of PEM’s Climate + Environment Initiative, illuminates a path towards a more sustainable future through innovative artworks and immersive experiences. Making its U.S. debut at PEM from February 17 through June 9, 2024, Our Time on Earth celebrates the power of global creativity to transform the conversation around the climate emergency.

      Visitors will be captivated by collaborative installations crafted by visionary artists, designers, scientists, technologists and changemakers hailing from 12 countries. Approach a dinner table set for a fox, a wasp and other unconventional guests; envision the microscopic foundations of life by diving into a virtual ocean surrounded by magnified plankton; and peer through the layers of a giant Kapok tree to visualize how trees act as a living bridge between soil and sky.

      “This exhibition invites us to imagine ways that art, design and science together can help us envision a positive future for our planet,” said Jane Winchell, the Sarah Fraser Robbins Director of PEM’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center.

      The exploration of innovative design solutions for harmonious coexistence with nature takes center stage in The Symbiocene, a collaboration between designer and author Julia Watson, and architect and sustainability engineer Smith Mordak and Indigenous communities in Iraq, India and Bali. This project envisions what’s possible when we leverage Indigenous and nature-based technologies to create symbiotic urban environments.

      Living Root Bridge of The Khasi, Mawlynnong village, India. © Amos Chapple (originally published in Julia Watson, Lo-TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, 2019)
      Living Root Bridge of The Khasi, Mawlynnong village, India. © Amos Chapple (originally published in Julia Watson, Lo-TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, 2019)

      In Queer Ecology, Colombian biologist Brigitte Baptiste collaborates with the Institute of Digital Fashion to create a shared collective experience that prompts reflection on what lessons humanity can glean from nature's inherent gender fluidity. By looking at how nature embodies queerness, this piece encourages visitors to witness their singular identities dissolving into matter, transcending the confines of the physical body and societal, binary labels. Sonic Waterfall, a captivating sound and light installation by Silent Studios (Nathan Prince and Liam Paton), offers a restorative sonic environment that encourages reflection, so we can engage in potential change.

      Trevor Smith, PEM’s Curator of the Present Tense Initiative and Associate Director of Multisensory Experience, notes that “Our Time on Earth celebrates the power of global creativity to transform the conversation around the climate crisis and open portals to a shared future, in which the planet and its people flourish together. To that end, I am delighted that the exhibition itself is built from natural and sustainable materials to minimize its carbon footprint.”

      Just as PEM is working to mitigate its own environmental impacts through its Climate + Environment initiative, we invite visitors to participate in creating a shared sustainable future in the PEM-generated “Be the Change” zone of the exhibition created in collaboration with Rare’s Climate Culture Boston. There, visitors can explore ideas shared by others on the collective response wall, choose an action step at the “Count Us In” station and have an empowering climate conversation guided by question cards. This zone will also host regularly scheduled activations by local and regional climate and environment advocates, including Mass Audubon’s Youth Climate Leadership Program and Rare’s Climate Culture Boston team.


      Saturday, February 17 | 11 am–3 pm
      Celebrate the opening of the multisensory exhibition Our Time on Earth. Learn about the key ideas that guided the concept and creation of this ambitious show from visiting curators from London’s Barbican Centre, or contribute to a community artwork with Cuban-American, Florida-based climate artist Xavier Cortada. Check out Rare’s interactive pop-up installation “Changing the Climate Culture” and meet inspiring climate allies. Learn more at

      February School Vacation Week at PEM: Caring for Creatures and Climate
      Monday, February 19 | Thursday, Feb 22 | Friday, February 23 | 10 am–5 pm

      Join us for a weeklong collection of programs that invite participants of all ages to embark on a journey of environmental stewardship. Learn about the interconnectedness of our ecosystems, foster empathy for other living beings and explore practical ways to tackle climate change. Through engaging presentations, workshops, drop-in art making and future-forward exhibitions, deepen your understanding of the vital roles we can play in preserving the diverse creatures that inhabit Earth and the climate that sustains us all. Learn more at

      High-resolution images are available upon request.

      Share your impressions with us on social media using #OurTimeOnEarth

      The exhibition is accompanied by an award-winning publication printed with nontoxic inks and on recycled paper. This illustrated book, designed by Stinsensqueeze, showcases artists and works within the exhibition and invites a deeper dive into some of the key themes. Bringing a broad range of voices together, the Our Time on Earth catalog features conversations between artists and activists; a speculative piece of fiction by artist Sin Wai Kin; a graphic mural by Jacob V Joyce; and poetry by climate activists Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviana. It includes essays by leading thinkers, including author and columnist George Monbiot, novelist Daisy Hildyard, Black British feminist educator Janine Francois, writer Jonathan Ledgard and Indigenous educators Sonia Guajajara and Célia Xakriabá. The Our Time on Earth catalog is available at the PEM Museum Shop.


      City of London

      Our Time on Earth is produced and curated by the Barbican with guest curators FranklinTill and co-produced by Musée de la civilisation, Québec City, Canada. This exhibition is made possible by Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation. We thank James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes, Chip and Susan Robie, and Timothy T. Hilton as supporters of the Exhibition Innovation Fund. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.


      • Victoria Vesna, Noise Aquarium (detail), 2022. Installation view of the Our Time on Earth exhibition at the Barbican Centre. © Danann Breathnach Photography.
      • Living Root Bridge of The Khasi, Mawlynnong village, India. © Amos Chapple (originally published in Julia Watson, Lo-TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, 2019).

      Founded in 1799, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts is the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. PEM provides thought-provoking experiences of the arts, humanities and sciences to celebrate the creative achievements and potential of people across time, place and culture. By connecting people through inquiry, empathy and dialogue, PEM encourages an understanding of our shared humanity and fosters a sense of belonging in a complex, ever-changing world. We build, steward and share our superlative collection, which includes African, American, Asian export, Chinese, contemporary, Japanese, Korean, maritime, Native American, Oceanic and South Asian art, as well as architecture, fashion and textiles, photography and 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, performance spaces and the Art and Nature Center, as well as numerous gardens and more than a dozen noted historic structures, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese home that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture in the United States.

      Whitney Van Dyke | Director of Marketing & Communications | | 617-259-6722
      Amelia Kantrovitz | Exhibition Publicist | | 617-794-4964