Peabody Essex Museum

February 17, 2009

The Peabody Essex Museum is a fantastic museum located not far from my parents in Salem, MA. We all ( me, C, and the rents) spent some time there while we were visiting. The collection itself is really interesting and diverse - a wide range of nautical art, as well as egyptian, indian, and native american (among others). But, the jewel of the collection is the Yin Yu Tang house (a chinese merchant's house that was re-erected at the heart of the museum. Visitors are able to walk through the home, and learn a bit about life as part of the Huang family, who lived there for 200 years. The two story house is a courtyard plan, with no external fenestration... the only openings are in towards the courtyard. It really encourages socializing between the different family members and renters. Its absolutely worth a visit to see the home, checking out the plan, koi pond, and clever (and ancient) detailing.
In addition to the collection, the museum itself is worth checking out. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the light filled center of the museum acts as a gathering space and a connector between the different wings. There are also a series of new bright (but indirectly lit) gallery spaces, that make the museum a really relaxing place to spend some time.

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