The Peabody Essex Museum Prepares to Unveil a Thoughtfully Designed 40,000-Square-Foot Expansion

Standing on the brick-paved Essex Street Pedestrian Mall in Salem, Massachusetts, and adjusting his purple silk scarf, Dan Monroe, who has served as the Peabody Essex Museum’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo executive director and CEO for over 25 years, gestured to the institution’s new expansion. “We have never believed that new buildings are the answer to transforming museums,” he provocatively said to the group gathered before him.


But with its collection of 1.8 million works, PEM had literally run out of exhibition space. Following a successful $650 million campaign, the museum hired New York–based firm Ennead Architects to design its new 40,000-square-foot wing. Set to open in September, the expansion marks the eighth extension of the museum since its 1799 founding by early American mariners. (These seafaring individuals were looking for a way to publicly display curiosities brought back from perilous voyages.) With this upcoming expansion, PEM will become one of the 10 largest museums in the U.S. in terms of size, collection, and endowment. Read More…


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