Events

Check Out the Peabody Essex Museum’s New Wing—For Free!

Free art, all weekend long, as the Salem museum celebrates an expansion.


© Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Aislinn Weidele of Ennead Architects.

This month, the Peabody Essex Museum debuts its long-awaited, 40,000 square foot new wing—and if you pay it a visit opening weekend, you’ll get to check it out admission-free, thanks to the Museum’s Public Opening Celebration.

PEM’s $125 million expansion marks a major update for the country’s oldest continuously operating museum, so even regular visitors will have plenty of new sights to take in. The new wing, designed by Ennead Architects of New York, features three new galleries, an atrium, a new entry for tours, and a 5,000 square foot garden. It will be home to re-imagined installations of the museum’s maritime, Asian export, and fashion and design art, along with some newly-acquired works.

Adjacent to the new wing will be new commissioned work from contemporary artists that responds to the museum space itself. There’s Vanessa Platacis’s 2,700 square foot stenciled and spray painted installation Taking Place, and Charles Sandison’s Figurehead 2.0, an immersive digital exhibition that combines museumgoers’ movement with historical data. Elsewhere in the museum are an international sculpture gallery, selections from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s library, and a giant sculpture of Fidel Castro’s head.

The official opening celebration on September 28 and 29 will feature live music, art-making, and performances, all at no cost. The event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.

Can’t wait til then to see the new wing in all its glory? Get a sneak peek of the sunlit halls (and the garden’s cool snake-like fountain) in the renderings below.

© Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert.

© Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Aislinn Weidele of Ennead Architects.

© Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Aislinn Weidele of Ennead Architects.

© Peabody Essex Museum. Rendering by Ennead Architects.