Art & Nature Center

Boy and Arctic Wolf

The Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center

Completely redesigned, the expanded Art & Nature Center showcases original exhibitions that investigate our interconnections with nature through contemporary art, memorable objects and interactive experiences. Designed for visitors of all ages, the new family-friendly center features changing exhibitions, hands-on displays and art-making spaces.

Please note: The museum is undergoing some exciting changes as it prepares for a major expansion with a new wing and reinstalled galleries (click here for more information). As part of this process, the Art & Nature Center Permanent Displays closed on September 18 and will reopen Saturday, December 3.

Changing Art & Nature Exhibitions

These revolving shows explore timely topics at the interface of human experience and the natural world.

Get hands-on with the Moon in Lunar Attraction as you explore some of the many ways we are inspired by and drawn to our only natural satellite. On view in the Art & Nature Center.

Check out all of our Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions below.

Art & Nature Displays

Discover art and natural specimens from the museum's collection that reveal stories about our evolving relationship with nature. Interactive sculptures and exploratory stations also invite you to play and invent as you investigate your own connections with the environment. The Investigate! Zone, with its fun things to do and create on low tables, shows toddlers and preschoolers there's a place here for them, too!

Art-making Spaces

Exercise your creativity at PEM! Visit the Art Nook and Create Space for a wide range of drop-in programs and art-making workshops. (See the Events Calendar for details.)


Check out the latest blog posts about the center at Connected.

Past Art & Nature Center Exhibitions

Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art
Sizing It Up: Scale in Nature and Art
October 10, 2015 to September 18, 2016
Branching Out: Trees as Art
Branching Out: Trees as Art
September 27, 2014 to September 13, 2015
Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
Beyond Human: Artist–Animal Collaborations
October 19, 2013 to September 7, 2014
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
Ripple Effect, The Art of H2O
June 18, 2011 to July 8, 2012
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
Eye Spy, Playing with Perception
June 19, 2010 to May 22, 2011
Trash Menagerie
Trash Menagerie
June 20, 2009 to May 23, 2010
Polar Attractions
Polar Attractions
June 28, 2008 to June 7, 2009
Origami Now!
Origami Now!
June 16, 2007 to June 8, 2008
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
A Sense of Place, An Artist's Tribute to the Seven Continents
December 16, 2006 to June 3, 2007
Owls in Art and Nature
Owls in Art and Nature
October 1, 2005 to December 3, 2006

Related events For families

Lunar Landing 2.0
Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

IMMERSIVE PRESENTATION

Night Sky: Portable Planetarium
11 am-1:45 pm | East India Marine Hall
Tickets available day of program
Recommended for ages 5 to adult

Join a space expert from the Museum of Science, Boston, on an exploration of the Moon, stars, planets and other celestial objects in the cosmos. 30-minute presentations at 11 and 11:45 am, 1 and 1:45 pm.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Orrery
10:30 am-4 pm | Maker Lounge

Create a paper model to better understand the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

Lunar Landing 2.0
Friday, February 24, 2017 from 10:30am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK (Continued)

Investigate the science, technology and innovation driving lunar exploration. Immerse yourself in a portable planetarium, design a spacecraft, plan a lunar colony and much more!

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Module Engineering
10:30 am-4 pm | Atrium

Design a lunar module model for transporting astronauts between the Moon's surface and their orbiting spacecraft.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Moon Collages
10:30 am-4 pm | Create Space

Create a Moon-themed collage inspired by Lunar Attraction artist Beth Hoeckel's compositions.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

Lunar Orrery
10:30 am-4 pm | Maker Lounge

Create a paper model to better understand the orbits of the Sun, Earth and Moon.

 

FILM

Despicable Me
1-2:36 pm | Morse Auditorium

Supervillain Gru hatches a plan to steal the Moon with the help of an army of Minions, a dash of super technology and three adorable orphans in this computer-animated comedy by Illuminated Entertainment.2010, Rated PG.

Put a Patch on it!
Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

If you have ever had a hard time letting go of favorite items of clothing, learn how to repurpose them as we read I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn. Then find inspiration in the WOW exhibition as you design one-of-a-kind iron-on patches under the guidance of fiber artist Ana Campos.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Moving to the Music
Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 1pm - 5pm Moving to the Music Mini-Fest

Discover how movement and music can create and tell stories.

 

MOVEMENT WORKSHOP

Phases and Phrases
1-2 pm | East India Marine Hall

Engage with performers from New Repertory Theatre's Classic Repertory Company in this all-ages interactive session! Get active and explore sequences of movements to create and tell a story inspired by the moon.

 

DROP-IN ART MAKING

DIY Star Projectors
1-3 pm | Studio 1, Create Space

Create your own star projector to transform any wall into the night sky.

 

MUSIC WORKSHOP

Musical Gestures
3-4 pm | East India Marine Hall

Get to know the string instrument family in this workshop and informal concert. Using gesture, body language and musical inflection, performers from the New England Philharmonic Chamber Players communicate mood and narrative without using any words! Followed by a string instrument "petting zoo" for your budding virtuosos.

 

EXHIBITION VIEWING

Lunar Attraction
Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center | Ground level

Explore artworks and interactives that explore our longstanding fascination and connection with the moon.

 

TWO SPECIAL PERFORMANCES

Phases: A Lunar Fantasy
$10 members, $15 students, $20 nonmembers. Free for children 16 and under

Family friendly concert | 6:30 pm | Atrium
Purchase Tickets – 6:30pm 

Wear your pajamas and get comfortable. Performance includes milk and cookies

 

18 and older concert | 8:30 pm
Purchase Tickets – 8:30 pm

Cash bar and complimentary cookies

The Asia/America New Music Institute and PEM Composer-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin invite you on an interstellar adventure about growing up, facing fear and making art. Using 360-degree lighting and projections to lift the Atrium into outer space, this music experience will delight the whole family. Approximate run time: 75 minutes, no intermission. Learn more at pem.org/aucoin and aanmi.org.

Featuring new music by Chad Cannon, Sun-Young Park, Sayo Kosugi, Paul Frucht, and Matthew Aucoin. Lighting and projection design by Mary Ellen Stebbins, Kevan Loney, and Bryce Cutler. Conceived and directed by Victoria Crutchfield.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Draw with Words
Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Sail across a sea of words as we read A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. Then create your own typographical landscapes using newsprint, text cutouts and your imagination. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, March 29, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Art-To-Wear
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 10am - 4pm SCHOOL VACATION WEEK

WOW® artists combine diverse fashion and sculpture techniques, technology and costume making to create works that spark the imagination. Join us this week to explore World of WearableArtTM exhibition through hands-on art making, demonstrations and storytelling. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.

Naturally Musical
Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 2pm - 3pm STORY TRAILS

Follow a music lover's dream as we read David Litchfield's The Bear and the Piano. Then make your own instrument with natural materials and the help of Brazilian musician Ricardo Frota, founder of Ecology of Sound. 

PEM Pals
Wednesdays at 10:30am on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This fun, interactive program with books, movement, music, art and hands-on activities is designed specifically for preschoolers and their caregivers.