Summer is a time for both “staycations” and vacations. When I’m on vacation I try to check out local museums and historical sites. Just recently, I spent the day in Salem, MA. The reason for the visit was to see the House of the Seven Gables, that inspired the Nathaniel Hawthorne book of the same name. But while I was there, I had the surprising pleasure of getting to know a wonderful art museum, called the Peabody Essex Museum.
Founded in 1799, the Peabody Essex Museum is one of the nation’s major museums for Asian art, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indian art, along with a collection of Asian Export art extant and 19th-century Asian photography. It has the earliest collections of Native American and Oceanic art in the nation. Their American Collection includes historic houses and gardens, and American decorative art and maritime art collections spanning 300 years of New England’s heritage.
In addition to the PEM permanent collection, they also have special exhibitions like the current one, Turner & the Sea, on view until September 1st. Throughout multiple gallery rooms, you see the breadth and depth of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s lifelong preoccupation with the sea. It includes his Academy paintings of the late 1790s and early 1800s, to the unfinished, experimental seascapes produced towards the end of his life.
If you are ever visiting Boston or traveling North of there, make a stop in Salem and visit the Peabody Essex Museum.