East India Marine Hall at the Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum History

In 1799, the East India Marine Society was founded as an organization of Salem captains and supercargoes. Under the organization’s provisional charter, which called for the establishment of a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities,” the Peabody Essex Museum was formed.

Members of the East India Marine Society stocked the collection with a variety of objects from wherever they sailed around the world- the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and India to name a few. The collection was moved into East India Marine Hall (pictured above) in 1825, which is attached to the rest of the PEM galleries today.

Read more about the East India Marine Society and the founding of the museum here, or visit the museum to start exploring the collection for yourself.

If time allows, we recommend checking out PEM’s temporary exhibitions, or exploring Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house located on the PEM campus.

Don’t leave before stopping at the museum shop– There you’ll find maritime books and art along with gifts for kids, jewelry, accessories and more.

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