From its earliest days as the East India Marine Society's Marine Hall, to the sprawling museum campus as we see it here today, the Peabody Essex Museum has stood the test of time as a cultural landmark. Its collections represent as much of the world's cultural and trade history as the history and the landscape of New England, and Salem in particular. Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1842 short story, A Virtuoso's Collection, includes a fictionalized version of the East India Marine Hall.
After the Essex Institute and the Peabody Museum combined their collections in 1992, the Phillips Library, housed in historic Plummer Hall across from the PEM'S main entrance, introduced important early manuscripts, periodicals, and genealogical records to the museum's collection.
Individual items from the library have found their way into the museum's exhibit halls, as well as in special exhibitions showcasing the library's collection -- including historical documents from the area, unique and historic books, and ships logs. The museum's most recent renovation introduced a new gallery space to the museum which will feature the library's collection year-round.
Please continue down Essex St. to our next stop on the left, just before the intersection of Essex St. and Hawthorne Blvd. -- the Gardner Pingree House.