Released September 26, 2011
2-YEAR PROJECT TO TRANSFORM HISTORIC COLLECTION
CONCURRENT EXHIBITION SHOWCASES LIBRARY HIGHLIGHTS
SALEM, MA -- Beginning this fall, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) will undergo a two-year, $20 million modernization including a much-needed facility upgrade and a program of cataloging and digitization. With 400,000 volumes and more than a linear mile of manuscripts acquired over two centuries, the Phillips Library is one of the most significant rare book libraries in the country.
"PEM's leadership in the art world is rooted in its extraordinary collection, exhibitions and programs - and importantly, in its commitment to research and scholarship," says PEM Deputy Director, Josh Basseches. "This investment in transforming our library illustrates the depth of PEM's commitment to these areas."
Structurally, the Phillips Library is housed in two noted architectural treasures - the John Tucker Daland House and Plummer Hall - both of which will be renovated and restored by the highly regarded Boston architecture firm, Schwartz/Silver Architects. Greatly improved research spaces will greet library visitors on site and an online platform will offer electronic visitors worldwide access to the Library's holdings.
"Scholars interested in working with our collection have historically had to conduct all of their research on site to have access to our unique holdings. Now they will be able to take full advantage of the library anytime they like from anywhere in the world," said Sidney Berger, the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library.
During the course of renovation, the Phillips Library will be available on a limited basis to visitors and researchers. Adjusted hours will be posted on www.pem.org/library/information. Scholars should contact the library directly to arrange for access to collections on an appointment basis.
Unbound, Highlights from the Phillips Library at PEM -- opens November 12, 2011
Thirty exquisitely rare and storied objects from the Phillips Library's vault, many never before seen by the public. Works include: a leaf from the Gutenberg Bible, an elaborately detailed sketchbook from the Civil War, an early 19th-century pop-up book depicting Japanese teahouses, the earliest example of paper currency in the Western world, and a signed first edition of The Scarlet Letter. Equal parts aesthetically and intellectually engaging, the works on view offer a glimpse into historical documents that were acquired for their power to delight the eye and tell powerful stories.
ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM
The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collection is one of the finest of its kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collection, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of special exhibitions and an education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.
HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Mondays (except holidays) and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.
INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit our website at www.pem.org.