Jane Winchell has been the director of PEM’s Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center since its founding in 2003. She started at PEM in 1992 as curator of the Natural History collection and led development of the museum’s original Art & Nature Center, as well as the revamped and expanded Center that opened in 2013. Winchell has curated more than 15 popular interactive/interdisciplinary/intergenerational shows for PEM, including XYZT: A Journey in 4 Dimensions (by Adrien M + Claire B), Lunar Attraction, Branching Out: Trees as Art, Eye Spy: Playing with Perception, Origami Now! and Wild Designs, an exhibition that explored bio-inspired art, design and architecture. Her most recent work includes Where the Questions Live: An Exploration of Humans in Nature by artist Wes Sam-Bruce. Winchell led development of PEM’s recently restored Art & Nature Center Space: The Pod, which includes installations, art and creative expression that bring us closer to the nature right outside our door. She is co-curator of The Great Animal Orchestra: Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists, which opens November 20, 2021, and Down to the Bone: Edward Koren and Stephen Gorman, opening in March 2022. She is also currently curator of Climate Action: Inspiring Change, opening April 2022, and co-leading PEM’s new Climate + Environment Initiative. Winchell holds a B.A. in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, and two graduate degrees: an M.S. in Science Communication and an M.A. in Biology, both from Boston University. Follow @janeywinchell on Instagram.
Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes, and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming, and community and virtual events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present, and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum’s collection includes American art and architecture, fashion and design, photography, and African, Asian, contemporary, maritime, Native American, Oceanic art, and an historic Natural History collection, as well as one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts. PEM’s campus offers a varied and unique visitor experience with an intergenerational Art & Nature Center (with hands-on creativity zones), interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-two noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.