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      The PEM Collection

      Have you ever considered a museum's collection as an invitation to investigate your own relationship to creativity?

      To engage the mind and spirit, the PEM collection offers outstanding works primarily from the 1600s to today: paintings, decorative arts, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and objects of daily life. Our African, Asian, American, maritime, Native American and Oceanic art collections emphasize the lively conversations that occur through creativity across time, place and culture.

      More than 850,000 works of art and culture — many of them the first of their kind to be collected in this country — come together to offer an experience that’s unique among American art museums. PEM’s deep and far-ranging collection opens windows into how people live, work and celebrate. Here, you can explore art and the world in which it is made. Reveal and compare concepts of creativity, individuality, community, tradition, spirituality and even emotion. The connections you make with your own experiences inspire a journey as important as the works themselves.

      ABOVE IMAGE: Josh Simpson (b. 1949, United States), Mega Megaplanet, 1999. Glass. Museum purchase, 1999. 137968.

      African Art

      PEM's African art collection reflects the continent's artistic traditions and cultural complexity.

      American Art

      PEM’s vibrant American art collection tells four centuries’ worth of compelling stories of creativity and artistic expression in this place.


      PEM has pioneered historic preservation since the 1860s and currently preserves nearly two dozen historic properties in downtown Salem.

      Asian Export Art

      PEM holds the largest and most comprehensive collection in the world of transcultural works by Asian artists who catered to diverse markets around the globe.

      Chinese Art

      PEM’s Chinese collection celebrates the breadth and beauty of China’s diverse arts.

      Contemporary Art

      Today’s art helps us imagine the future: That has been true since PEM’s founders brought back the collection’s first objects in 1799.

      European Art

      Reflecting PEM’s long history, our diverse holdings of European art foster connections across the museum.

      Fashion and Textiles

      PEM’s fashion and textiles collection reveals how design shapes our identity across cultures and eras.

      Japanese Art

      PEM holds a remarkable array of objects from everyday life in 19th-century Japan.

      Korean Art

      Hailed as one of the most important in the United States, PEM’s Korean collection is dominated by works from the late Joseon Dynasty.

      Maritime Art and History

      PEM’s wide-ranging maritime collection conveys the far-reaching cultural, symbolic and emotional impact of the sea.

      Native American Art

      PEM’s Native American art collection celebrates a continuum of Indigenous creative brilliance and honors a multiplicity of worldviews.

      Natural History

      PEM’s historic natural history collection is rooted in scientific curiosity and supports evolving our engagement with nature and forging a new relationship with the planet.

      Oceanic Art

      PEM’s Oceanic holdings reveal connections between the porous boundaries of art, religion and life.

      Phillips Library Collection

      PEM’s Phillips Library, among the oldest libraries in the United States, inspires new journeys of learning.


      PEM’s photography collection encourages different ways of seeing the world.

      South Asian Art

      Rooted in intercultural influence and exchange, PEM’s South Asian collection celebrates the diversity of South Asia’s rich creative output and its people.

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      The James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Collection Center


      The James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Collection Center

      Learn about PEM’s state-of-the-art 120,000-square-foot Hawkes Collection Center in Rowley, Massachusetts.

      Keep exploring

      PEM Collection Center enhanced by generous donation from philanthropists James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes

      Press Release

      PEM Collection Center enhanced by generous donation from philanthropists James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes

      Moshe Safdie

      Director's Dialogue

      Moshe Safdie
      Speaking from the Heart: An Open Dialogue on Climate Action

      Past event

      Speaking from the Heart: An Open Dialog on Climate Action
      Atrium press 1000

      Press Release

      Peabody Essex Museum and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Announce Return of Historic Salem Witch Trial Documents