Peabody Essex Museum in Salem

Peabody Essex Museum in Salem

More than 200 years ago, what is now the Peabody Essex Museum was created by individuals of unusual foresight and dedication. Generations of patrons, staff, and volunteers nurtured this institution and its unique heritage. Now the museum has entered its third century with a stunning transformation of its physical form and an exciting new approach to the appreciation of art and the world in which it was made.

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Tour/Activity Details




Open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm daily (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day & New Years Day)

Children under the age of 17 are admitted free of charge with a paying adult (does not apply to sizeable groups). Tour time will show 10:00 am (opening time each day) but you may present your E-Ticket at the museum at any time during operating hours Monday through Friday. Please order online or call 212-852-4822 to order or for more information.


Advancing its legacy as a museum of international art and culture, the new Peabody Essex presents beautiful and captivating works of art and the world in which they were created.

PEM has a highly active collecting program, and ranks consistently among the top museums in the nation for investing in new acquisitions.


The Peabody Essex Museum's collections, 2.4 million works of art, architecture, and culture, are singular among American museums.

Many of the museum's collections are considered to be among the finest in the nation, yet several have never been publicly displayed at any time since the Museum's founding in 1799.

Yin Yu Tang A late Qing dynasty merchants' house, was originally located in southeaster China. Re-erected at the Peabody Essex Museum, Yin Yu Tang is now open to visitors. Yin Yu Tang was home to the Huang family for eight generations, with as many as three generations living in the house at one time. Over the two centuries that the Huang family lived in the house (c. 1800-1982), the 16 bedrooms of this elegant home were occupied by direct male descendaents, their wives who came from other villages, their children, and times, non-family members. Yin Yu Tang is an outstanding example of the renowned Huizhou architecture, presenting such regional characteristics as stepped, exterior "horse head" walls, a "sky well" interior courtyard, a carved brick front entrance, and intricately executed post-and-beam mortise-and-tenon construction.

The Herwitz Gallery, named in honor of pioneering collectors Chester and Davida Herwitz, is the first American museum gallery dedicated to the modern and contemporary art of India. In diverse styles and from a variety of perspectives, artists express the dynamic public and private character of contemporary India and the world, conveying personal, regional, national, and universal themes.

The Oceanic art and culture collection is internationally recognized, and has its origins in the first objects donated to the museum in 1799. The collection is well-known to specialists for its many early provenanced objects as well as its size and breadth. It includes more than 20,000 objects from more than 36 island groups in Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Many works are masterpieces.

The maritime art and history collection, begun in 1803, is the finest in America. It is internationally renowned for holdings of approximately 30,000 paintings, drawings, and prints. The collection also encompasses 20,000 maritime objects dating from the 17th through the early 20th centuries, including ship models, marine decorative arts, tools, weapons, navigational instruments, and ship and yacht plans.

The American decorative art, folk art, and costume collection represents more than 300 years of New England art and culture. It features exceptional examples of regional furniture, portraits, and needlework. Period furniture illuminates all aspects of society, from the elite to the working class. The folk art collection is rich and diverse. The costume collection ranks among the top ten in the nation.

Founded in the 1880s, the Korean collection pioneered American interest in Korean art and culture. Today, it contains a broad spectrum of art of the late Joseon dynasty, from eight-panel screens used at court to a carved and painted beehive from an aristocratic household. The collection is deemed by Korean scholars to be the best of its kind in the United States and is the only foreign collection to be exhibited at the National Museum in Seoul.

Begun with mariners' donations from India in the early years of the museum's operation, the Indian collection includes important sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and metalwork. The Himalayan collection contains the nation's foremost collection of 19th- and 20th-century Bhutanese textile arts as well as important Tibetan and Nepalese works.

The African art collection includes early and significant works from coastal East and West Africa, and an important body of Zulu arts. The Peabody Essex also houses one of the world's finest collections of Ethiopian Christian art, consisting of 16th- to 20th-century icons and metalwork.

Born during the height of the China trade in Salem, the Chinese art collection is unique for its strength in vernacular art that explores the rich traditions of Chinese culture. It features important Qing dynasty works, including ceramics, textiles, and decorative arts.

Contributions from many of America's most important 19th- and 20th-century collectors of Japanese art have combined to create a major collection of the art and culture of Japan. The collection was begun in 1799 and contains many works considered rare even in Japan, with the late Edo- and Meiji-period collection ranking among the finest in the world.

The Asian export art collection is the world's most comprehensive collection of decorative art made in Asia for export to the West. It encompasses paintings, furniture, silver, porcelains, original of works of art on paper, and a wide range of other objects created between the fifteenth and the twentieth centuries. The collection reflects the complex and fascinating interaction between the artistic and cultural traditions of East and West.

The architecture collection includes 23 historic American structures and a major architectural fragment collection. Four of the buildings are designated National Historic Landmarks; eight others are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Peabody Essex holds America's first collection of historic buildings and one of its finest.

The Native American Art collection includes thousands of historic works dating from the 17th century to the present, as well as archaeological works dating back 10,000 years. Today, the department actively works with contemporary artists throughout the Americas.

The photography collection comprises more than a half million rare and vintage images representing nearly every kind of photographic format and process. The collection includes the world's finest group of nineteenth-century photographs of Asia, thousands of maritime images, early American photographic portraits, as well as architectural and landscape images.

The Phillips Library, part of the Peabody Essex Museum, is one of New England's most important and historic research libraries. It is a major resource for residents and scholars with interests in genealogy, maritime history, New England history, or documents relating to the museum's vast and diverse collections. The Library also holds the nation's largest collection of ship logs and journals as well as original court documents from the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials.

Children under the age of 17 are admitted free of charge with a paying adult (does not apply to sizeable groups). Please order online or call 212-852-4822 to order or for more information.

Cancellation Policy

There are no refunds. All sales are final.

Change policy

If changes are allowed on a tour or activity, a $20.00 per reservation change fee will be applied for any change to a reservation. Please note that some tours and activities do not allow any changes. Date changes can only be made only if we can confirm availability on the new date. While we cannot guarantee any changes can be made, all change requests must be submitted a minimum of 24 hours prior to the tour departure and must be handled on an individual basis through our Reservations Center.

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<< October 2017 >>

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October 22, 2017

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