The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem is one New England museum determined to keep up with the times. Always thinking outside of the box…wait…forget the box—the Peabody Essex Museum doesn’t even need a box—the museum has added a podcast to their already marvelous blog Connected. The museum’s blog, which was launched in the summer of 2013, is a window into the inner workings of an art institution. Connected acts as an extension of the Peabody Essex’s educational programming as well as a platform for the Museum’s docents and staff to express their thoughts and experiences with current and past exhibits as well as objects in the museum’s collection. The blog also allows curators to document and reflect on their explorations and travels, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to the Peabody Essex. I’ve been following the blog ever since I wrote about it for Big Red & Shiny two years ago and it’s been a wonderful experience reading and learning about a wide range of topics including Japanese books (this post is found in The Conversant, the blog of the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum) or the re-interpretation of the Ropes Mansion—one of the historic houses in the museum’s architecture collection.
Joining other fellow podcasting museums such as the National Portrait Gallery’s Face-to-Face, the Metropolitan Museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and their podcasts of classical music—PEMcast has already featured a range of interesting topics. Their latest podcast is about public art, something the Peabody Essex knows a thing or two and features artist and arts reporter Greg Cook, the work of Patrick Dougherty, Theo Jansen and David Yann Robert and others.
Museums in general, but especially those in the Boston area are often slow in embracing new and emerging technologies, but the Peabody Essex Museum has been at the forefront of this technological wave. My hope is that other museums in the area continue to experiment with blogging and podcasting like the Peabody Essex and use their experts to shed new light on their collections and research.