An essential introduction to the remarkable collection of the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), the oldest continuously operating and collecting museum in the United States.
The museum’s complex history is marked by a series of changes and reinventions dating back to its founding with the East India Marine Society in 1799. In recent decades, PEM has undergone one of the most extraordinary transformations in American museum history. This beautifully designed and informative edition is an ideal guide to PEM’s world-class collection, from its storied origins to recent contemporary acquisitions. It presents thoughtful overviews on each of PEM’s curatorial departments—African, American, architecture, Asian export, Chinese, contemporary, European, fashion and textiles, Japanese, Korean, maritime, Native American, natural history, Oceanic, photography, and South Asian—as well as the renowned Phillips Library collection. Lavish color illustrations represent more than 400 significant artworks and objects from the collection and 19 highlight stories illuminate the people behind the museum’s varied, remarkable, and beloved objects.