I grew up loving museums and my dad is a museum curator, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to jump from working in theatre to the museum industry when I joined PEM’s staff last year. Museums are in my DNA. Last week, I was excited to have the opportunity to share PEM with my dad for the first time.
My dad, Eric Boehm, is the Curator of Aviation and Aircraft Restoration at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. At first, it may seem like PEM and Intrepid sit at vastly different ends of the museum world, but I’ve found there are connections between the two — just like Dad and me, they share some DNA.
Although PEM has firm roots in Salem, both physically and historically, the spirit of the museum has sailed the world — from the mariners who founded the East India Marine Society in 1799 to the international staff that still travels the world in search of great objects to bring home. The Intrepid Museum’s complex is centered around an aircraft carrier that has sailed the world in a more literal sense, and like PEM, it continues to connect people from around the globe.
One of my favorite discovered connections between the two is more tangible, however! When exploring the Maritime Collection in the Nancy and George Putnam Gallery, you might come across a vintage travel poster that advertises the S.S. United States, a luxury cruise liner built in the early 1950s. As my dad pointed out during his visit, a piece of that very same ship — an 18-foot tall manganese-bronze propeller — sits across from the Intrepid Museum entrance on the west side of Manhattan.
PEM and Intrepid are both museums that are “more” — that defy being defined as one type of museum. PEM is a museum where art meets history and culture and Intrepid is a museum where history meets art. Yes, I think it’s easy to find beauty and art in the aircraft on Intrepid’s deck. I am my father’s daughter, after all!