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.
PEM's African art collection reflects the continent's artistic traditions and cultural complexity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
PEM Collection Center enhanced by generous donation from philanthropists James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes
Speaking from the Heart: An Open Dialog on Climate Action