Peabody Essex Museum's Mellon Foundation Grant

Supports Native American Fellowships

By: - Dec 22, 2015

SALEM, MA – The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will allow the museum to expand and strengthen its Native American Fellowship program. Heading into its seventh year and boasting over two dozen alumni, PEM’s Native American Fellowship program ensures that talented Native Americans acquire the experience, knowledge and skills they need to excel as cultural leaders in the decades to come. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s transformative grant will expand the scope, scale and measurable impact of PEM’s Native American Fellowship program.

While the number of museums and cultural centers continues to grow and museums are increasingly focused on staff diversity, Native Americans remain woefully underrepresented in the museum field. PEM’s Native American Fellowship program fosters the next generation of successful Native American museum, cultural and academic leaders who will play a major role in the continuing development and preservation of Native American art and culture.

“We are very grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for recognizing the importance of PEM’s Fellowship program and for believing in its long-range vision,” said  Dan Monroe, PEM’s Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO. “Native American and Native Hawaiian cultures have survived hundreds of years of both active and inadvertent actions that have threatened their very existence. Yet they remain and continue to evolve. We are honored to partner with the Mellon Foundation to help provide opportunities for young and highly capable Native Americans and Native Hawaiians to develop the leadership, knowledge and skills they desire to assure that Native American art, languages and cultures grow in strength and influence in the decades to come.”

PEM’s Native American Fellowship combines on-the-job museum experience with leadership training in the critically important disciplines of organizational development, management, strategic planning, negotiation, creative problem-solving, fundraising, marketing and communications. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s grant will allow, among other things, PEM to expand the number of Fellows accepted each year, lengthen the program from 10 to 12 weeks, create a formal mentoring program and allow for longitudinal and third-party evaluation.

PEM’s commitment to Native American art and culture extends back to the museum’s founding in 1799. The collection is one of the oldest and most important of its kind and includes nearly 15,000 works representing tribes throughout the Americas. Over the last 20 years, the museum has produced 10 major exhibitions celebrating Native American art and culture, four of which have traveled nationally. PEM has been at the fore of involving Native American artists and scholars in the exhibition development process and has been committed to providing unique perspectives that advance the public’s understanding of Native American art and culture. Beyond stewarding, researching and celebrating its Native American collection, PEM is committed to supporting and defending Native American and Native Hawaiian culture.


PHOTO CREDIT:  PEM’s 2015 Native American Fellows: Jordan Dresser, Alexandra Nahwegabow, Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu and Halena Kapuni-Reynolds. Photo by Kathy Tarantola/Peabody Essex Museum.