Released April 01, 2016



SALEM, MA -- The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) announces the appointment of Lynda Roscoe Hartigan as its new James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Deputy Director, following the departure of Josh Basseches to lead Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).

Appointed as PEM's first chief curator in 2003, Hartigan has led an innovative, ambitious and award-winning curatorial program. She has successfully developed a strategic plan for reimagining the museum's curatorial practice and creating its first comprehensive exhibition, publishing and collection initiatives.

"Lynda Hartigan brings exceptional leadership, talent, experience and creativity to her new position as deputy director," said Dan Monroe, PEM's Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO. "Her new role will help assure that PEM continues to celebrate art and creative expression in new and innovative ways for ever-growing audiences worldwide."

During her tenure as chief curator, Hartigan developed curatorial initiatives for contemporary art, fashion, photography and American art while doubling the number of exhibitions PEM presents each year. Her recalibration of collection priorities has yielded major acquisitions, new patronage and enhanced documentation of and access to the collection. Hartigan has also built a new model for the museum's publications department, overseeing the creation of award-winning books and catalogs with major national and international publishers.

The leading scholar on American artist Joseph Cornell, Hartigan specializes in American art, especially modern, folk and outsider, and African American art, yielding numerous widely recognized exhibitions and publications. Prior to joining PEM, Hartigan was chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., where she built the internationally recognized collections of American folk art and African American art and led a major acquisitions initiative for modern and contemporary art.

At PEM, Hartigan has made comprehensive investments in staff development, cross-departmental collaboration and promoting professional creativity throughout the museum. In addition to working closely with curators, Hartigan has fostered a series of lectures, called PEM Talks, inviting guest lecturers from a variety of backgrounds to speak on topics such as cognition, emotion and experiential design. Hartigan notes, "I work to surface issues and connections in ways that encourage exploration of the unexpected and interdisciplinary -- all in the interest of inciting creativity and curiosity about why something has relevance for people today and for the future."

As deputy director, Hartigan will lead the interpretation and reinstallation of PEM's collection in the museum's new 40,000-square-foot wing set to open to the public in 2019.  Hartigan will also collaborate closely with Monroe, the staff, Board of Trustees and PEM's supporters to achieve the museum's Advancement Campaign goals and support the museum's new Collection Stewardship Center, education, digital and global leadership initiatives.

Hartigan holds a B.A. in art history from Bucknell University and an M.A. in art history from George Washington University and attended the Claremont Graduate University/Getty Leadership Institute. Currently, she is a board member of the Association of Art Museum Curators.


Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country's oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people's lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum's collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time -- including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM's campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM's campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States, and the Phillips Library, which holds one of the nation's most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm, and the third Thursday of every month until 9 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. ADMISSION: Adults $20; seniors $17; students $12. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866?745?1876 or visit



PR Contacts:

Whitney Van Dyke  -  Director of Communications  -  978-542-1828  -

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