News & Notes

How we got here and where we're going

New PEM CEO pledges more openness

The Salem News, November 6, 2019

The building phase is over. "We've an awful lot of work to do to reconcile Salem with the museum," CEO/director Brian Kennedy said. "And the No. 1 thing that's come through all the sessions that we've done so far on our strategic plan ... is that the staff, and the board and our overseers and all those we've engaged so far think that the biggest challenge that we have is to be more engaged in Salem. That's going to take time. And it takes money, but it takes attitude and desire."

At expanded Peabody Essex Museum, a new director strives to put people over things

Boston Globe, September 26, 2019

“For us, I think the question is ‘How can we look at this extraordinary opportunity that combines 580,000 square feet under a roof, 22 historic houses, historic buildings, and what are we going to do with it all?’ ” Kennedy asked. “We all want to be museums for everyone, theoretically, but that rarely happens. The real question is, can we be museums for anyone? What can we do that makes people feel welcome?”

With Expansion, Peabody Essex Explores Complicated History of Museums

WBUR ARTery, September 24, 2019

The new wing was designed to open up that history to its visitors, and it doesn’t shy away from the complicated stories that led to the acquisition of some of the museum’s 1.8 million artifacts and art objects.

You could feel people leaning in

Peabody Essex Museum, Aug. 2, 2019

Brian Kennedy, PEM's new director, introduced himself and his vision to museum members during a cocktail reception. 

To begin where we began

Peabody Essex Museum, July 15, 2019

Brian Kennedy, new director of the Peabody Essex Museum, introduced himself to staff at East India Marine Hall because he said it is the heart of the museum. PEM inspires us to travel to new places, said Kennedy, but it also is about being where you are and thinking locally.

AG reviewing Phillips Library move

Salem News, July 12, 2019

State Attorney General is reviewing Peabody Essex Museum's move of historical Salem documents from the Phillips Library to the museum’s Collection Center in Rowley.

Turning the Page: How PEM's library is digitizing its collections

Peabody Essex Museum, May 14, 2019

In the past year, the Phillips Library has undertaken an enthusiastic three-pronged digitization effort, which is becoming available on a rolling basis.

PEM appoints new head librarian

Peabody Essex Museum, May 13, 2019

The Peabody Essex Museum announces the appointment of Dan Lipcan as Head Librarian of the museum’s Phillips Library. Lipcan joins PEM in May from the Thomas J. Watson Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where, during a distinguished 16-year tenure, he became Associate Museum Librarian.

Welcoming the new director, Brian Kennedy, to Peabody Essex Museum

Friends of Salem's Phillips Library, March 8, 2019

For a museum that, by the circumstances of its formation and development, is about both art and history, the choice of an art historian to lead it seems eminently logical.


Brian Kennedy arrives at the PEM at a moment of both triumph (a new wing about to open) and tribulation (escalating pressures to return the Phillips Library to Salem).

PEM names Brian Kennedy as Executive Director and CEO [official press release]

Peabody Essex Museum, March 8, 2019

Current Toledo Museum of Art director brings bold leadership to one of the oldest, fastest growing, and most innovative museums in the country.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll’s Statement on Peabody Essex Museum Announcement

March 8, 2019

New PEM director has strong reputation for "community engagement."

Toledo Museum of Art director Brian Kennedy leaving in June [for PEM]

Toledo Blade, March 7, 2019

TMA board president Cynthia Thompson: “Brian is a visionary museum director who has had a significant impact on TMA’s visitors, its collection, the campus, and the surrounding community. His legacy will be felt in Toledo for generations to come.”

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