Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem: Hours, Address, Peabody Essex Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

Peabody Essex Museum
4.5
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Write a review
About
Experience art and culture from New England and around the world at one of the region’s largest art museums. Explore the museum’s vast collections and changing exhibitions, ranging from modern art to photography to Asian art and culture. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens, and 24 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, the only example of Chinese vernacular architecture on display in the United States.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

Top ways to experience Peabody Essex Museum and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
2,082 reviews
Excellent
1,518
Very good
390
Average
114
Poor
39
Terrible
21

RedheadedWanderer
Brooklyn, NY134 contributions
May 2021
The Peabody Essex Museum was a revelation! I expected a much smaller museum and we had only budgeted two and a half hours for our visit, but I actually felt that I could have easily spent another hour here enjoying the various galleries. 
If you're hesitant about indoor activities even as pandemic restrictions ease, this museum with its large rooms and high ceilings might be a good choice for you. It wasn't busy at all when we went on Sunday afternoon and everyone respectfully wore masks. I'd recommend going at any time because they had some fascinating displays, both of temporary exhibitions and those part of the permanent collection. I particularly enjoyed Anila Quayyum Agha's "All the Flowers Are for Me" and we made it just in time to see Alexis Rockman's "Shipwrecks."
We had purchased timed tickets to see Yin Yu Tang, the Qing Dynasty house that was home to the Huang family for 200 years. They offer handheld audio devices, but you can also use your phone and personal headphones. It's a very unique experience to walk through it. Currently, the second story is not open, but we enjoyed walking through the first floor and speaking with the incredibly knowledgeable docent about the building and its history.
In the "Maritime Art" exhibition, I liked that select pieces were set apart for motion-triggered audio and visual in-depth presentations. Though I will say that the only issue I had was with the James Drown calendar stick audio presentation, where you sat through several minutes of story about this carved stick discovered all the way out on Tristan da Cunha and the assumption that poor fellow who carved it died, so it was brought back to his family... but he then turned up alive in Providence! However, the presentation simply says there wasn't an accurate enough explanation for what happened to him to share. ... Seriously? Go ahead and share whatever crazy stories might exist with a caveat that they can't be proved but don't let us down like that!
In any case, clearly it made an impression and that's the most important thing! You'll see many things here that you might expect from a museum in a seaside town, but there's a significant amount of very modern exhibitions and a cosmopolitan feel that marks the Peabody Essex as a very impressive museum. We'll absolutely be back. 
Written June 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful review, we're glad you enjoyed your visit! We hope to see you again soon!
Written June 8, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Gene R J
Silver Spring, MD8,099 contributions
Jun 2021
We bought our 10 AM timed tickets online($18 ea senior), donned our face masks and picked up a floor plan to optimize our visit. This new 2003 building, combining 2 museums that date back to 1800, has 6 acres of floor space containing a large entry hall with gift shops, lots of exhibition halls and curvilinear hallways. I asked a docent for directions to the first floor's permanent collection, Maritime Art. After this, a docent pointed us to an elevator to the 3rd floor where we then walked down through the often unconnected exhibit halls. The quality of the historic collection, both from returning 19th sailing sea captains and subsequent museum purchases, is very high quality with excellent notations and some interesting stories, so the progression was slow. After 3 hours we were exhausted but felt we had done a good job. Some of our favorites were; 1279 Japanese Jizu Bosatsu, 1750 "Two-headed equestrian figurehead."(one of the oldest in the world and the only double-headed form), Salem native Nathaniel Bowditch published "The New American Practical Navigator" in 1802 and is still carried on U.S. Naval vessels, 1863 Maritime Journal of the "Tarquin", 1790 Indonesian Two-stem smoking pipe, 1899 "Tea Production in China", 1790 "Contemplation by the Sea", 1837 Chinese Sewing Table, 1725 Chinese screen made for Sir John Eccleston, 1656 1300 pound Chinese bell(inscribed with 5000 characters from the Heart and Diamond Sutras), 2015 "All the Flowers Are for Me," by Anita Quayyum Agha.
This is a great museum that brought the world to Salem.
Written June 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LoveUFLoveFLA
Gainesville, FL895 contributions
Oct 2020
We enjoyed this museum on our Halloween visit to Salem. We were able to purchase tickets ahead of time when other museums were already sold out. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure tickets to the separately ticketed exhibits. Workers were observed cleaning very frequently.
Written November 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tori
3 contributions
Oct 2020 • Friends
I highly recommend the museum notify guests before they purchase their tickets that they require the MA state travel form (aka a negative covid test or proof of quarantine). Luckily we had completed this, but it made the process of entering the museum very confusing. I also recommend making the website less confusing when purchasing tickets. You had to choose different entry times for each exhibit and you had to have tickets for each exhibit, even if you already had a general admission ticket for the entire museum. The website wouldn’t even allow us to do this so it just contributed to the entire experience being confusing.
Written October 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for your feedback. We will take your review into consideration in providing more advance communication about travel restrictions going forward and improving our web ticketing system. Thank you again.
Written December 15, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chi Irene
2 contributions
Oct 2020 • Friends
We came to Salem to learn about the witch trials. This was the first time in ages that this museum had an exhibit with relics from those days. We were excited to see it until we found out that it was separate from the rest of the museum and we needed a separate ticket and the only time it was open was 6 hrs later, during our other tour. So we never got to go to the exhibit.

People don’t come to Salem to see a random hodgepodge of Asian Art that we weren’t too keen on seeing. Put that stuff in Boston and perhaps people will be more amenable to it. But in Salem, they come for New England history and witch trial history. We paid for expensive tickets and saw none of it. We had family in town from Hong Kong who were excited to see the witch trials exhibit and they literally had to pay to see art from their own country....pieces they keep in their own homes. That’s like Americans spending money to go overseas and learn different culture and history...just to be taken to a museum that’s themed “current American pop culture ” Not successful...
Written October 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

lindasun
Massachusett131 contributions
Feb 2021
Having been to the museum a few times over the past few decades, it was a thrill to be surprised by how much it's changed - it is a new favorite we'll return to. Getting tickets, staff, parking, etc. were all easy peasy. COVID safety was at its best with automatic doors to most rooms, capacity limits posted in galleries, and timed entrances for popular spots. Even without registering for a time at a gallery, you could generally ask and get in. Museum exhibit designers here are seriously the best - presentation, display, and signage were better than most any museum I've been to. Sweet that most things had a sea or far east theme, but it was subtle in many cases. Old artifacts were presented along with more modern flavors for great contrast and interest. Favorites were Where the Questions Live, Anish Kapoor's spectacular piece in the main lobby next to a view of the ancient Chinese home, Stencils (who knew?), the giant room with mastheads and a fascinating light display. I could go on. Spent 5 hours and was exhausted but didn't see everything we wanted to, including the gift shop which was so nice looking.
Written February 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Philip T
8 contributions
Mar 2021
This museum is the perfect size. You buzz through a gallery and then pop out again in the beautiful central hall to pick your next little collection. This is a great place to visit with kids, if you are willing to let them set the pace -- lots of nooks and crannies to explore. It is a serious museum, dedicated to preserving treasures from around the world, but the collections tell an entertaining story: "Humans are interesting and we make neat stuff."
Written August 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

charzard93
1 contribution
Sep 2021 • Couples
Not at all worth the price you post to get in. They advertise Salem witch trials but it didn't have any history in the entire museum. Very disappointed. Also do not bring backpacks with you my small tiny backpack wasn't allowed. Women had purses larger than my backpack. Terrible experience from staff to exhibitions. Don't waste your time or money.
Written September 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to leave your feedback. We regret that your experience with our staff was less than satisfactory and would welcome specific customer service feedback via email at info@pem.org.
Written October 6, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

moabmeadow
Boxford, MA339 contributions
Mar 2022
Every time we come here, we are reminded of the variety of their exhibits. Every visit leaves me wanting to read and learn more about one of the topics addressed at PEM. The two exhibits we focused on this visit were: The Great Animal Orchestra and Each/Other.

The Great Animal Orchestra was not what I expected and after 15 minutes we almost left. Once you calm your desire to "see" something going on and settle down to only "hear", it is pretty amazing. Most amazing - and terrifying is the piece half way through where the artist plays for you the sounds of a place over a period of years. The increasing silence makes one want to cry.

Each/Other was equally fascinating but in a totally different way. Don't just walk by the tower of blankets. Read the dozens of tags for a sense of history and community. It was pretty amazing really. Loved the artists way of joining people from all over the world in their art.
Written March 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

number2cac
West Hartford, CT170 contributions
Oct 2021 • Solo
I was a little unsure about paying $20 for entry, but it was totally worthwhile. The museum is huge inside with a variety of exhibits. It's a bit if a chaotic maze, and I'm not even sure I saw everything. The fashion exhibit upstairs is easy to miss and very cool, and I stumbled upon a room of Indian paintings that was a real highlight for me. I was really impressed with my whole experience and will definitely return. Salem is fun but a bit cheesy, so this museum was a welcome alternative activity!
Written October 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,039
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum is open:
  • Thu - Sun 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Peabody Essex Museum tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 5 Peabody Essex Museum tours on Tripadvisor