May 17, 2022

Rare Books: Peabody Essex Museum Announces $20 Million Rennovation of Philipps Library

From the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM):

Beginning this fall, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) will undergo a two-year, $20 million modernization including a much-needed facility upgrade and a program of cataloging and digitization. With 400,000 volumes and more than a linear mile of manuscripts acquired over two centuries, the Phillips Library is one of the most significant rare book libraries in the country.

“PEM’s leadership in the art world is rooted in its extraordinary collection, exhibitions and programs – and importantly, in its commitment to research and scholarship,” says PEM Deputy Director, Josh Basseches. “This investment in transforming our library illustrates the depth of PEM’s commitment to these areas.”

Structurally, the Phillips Library is housed in two noted architectural treasures – the John Tucker Daland House and Plummer Hall – both of which will be renovated and restored by the highly regarded Boston architecture firm, Schwartz/Silver Architects. Greatly improved research spaces will greet library visitors on site and an online platform will offer electronic visitors worldwide access to the Library’s holdings.

“Scholars interested in working with our collection have historically had to conduct all of their research on site to have access to our unique holdings. Now they will be able to take full advantage of the library anytime they like from anywhere in the world,” said Sidney Berger, the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library.

Direct to Library Web Site and Catalogue (PHILCAT)



About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.