Historic Salem, Incorporated (HSI) joins the Salem community in its concern over the Peabody Essex Museum’s (PEM) plans to remove the Phillips Library Collection and other historic collections to Rowley. We appreciate PEM's intent to improve conservation and safe storage. However, these books and objects inform Salem’s unique local history as well as our national heritage and should be accessible to the public in a Salem location. We encourage the PEM to develop strategies to integrate the historic collections into programming and education, to tell of Salem’s extraordinary contribution to art, culture and science.
HSI would like to express appreciation for the Plummer Hall and Daland House restoration projects, as these are such important historic buildings. We look forward to PEM's pledge to re-open the Plummer Hall reading room and grand hall to the public.
These comments are offered in the context of Historic Salem's mission which is to ensure that the historic resources of Salem, Massachusetts, which are the key to its identity, its quality of life and its economic vitality, are preserved for future generations.
You can read more about this issue here:
"Salem residents angry over museum's plan to move historical records." Boston Globe. January 13, 2018. Malcom Gay.
"Sparks fly at Phillips Library Forum." Salem News. January 11, 2018. Dustin Luca.
"Historians Say Wealth of Records Trapped in Now Shuttered Library". Salem News, Dec. 18, 2017. Dustin Luca.
"Museum Advocates Spar Over Library's Future". Salem News. Dec. 25, 2017. Dustin Luca.
PEM statement, December 8, 2017
"Save the Phillips Library" Facebook group.
Streets of Salem posts about Phillips Library.
History by the Sea post about Phillips Library.
Follow the Phillips Library Instagram account @pemlibrary to see examples of the Phillips Library holdings.