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Work set to begin on Peabody Essex Museum in Salem at the end of August

Posted by Ryan Mooney  August 2, 2012 02:45 PM

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The early planning stages are drawing to a close and the real work is ready to begin at Peabody Essex Museum as the institution undergoes its first major renovation since 2003.

Construction on the roof will begin on August 31, for the structure that will house the mechanical equipment on top of the Dodge building along Essex Street.

On Monday, August 20, Turner Construction will install Jersey barriers on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall in front of the museum to create a secure area for the installation of a crane. The crane will hoist construction materials to the roof of the Dodge building, which runs between the main entrance and East India Marine Hall.

Emergency and delivery vehicles will be able to access the mall through an 18-foot lane.

The crane will remain in place until August 2013, and a larger crane may be brought in to lift mechanical equipment to the roof. Also, some trees on the museum side of the mall will be removed.

Last November, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) announced a $650 million campaign - one of the largest fundraising operations ever undertaken by a United States art museum - along with ambitious plans for a $200-$250 million renovation.

The 175,000-square-foot expansion will open up more gallery space for international exhibits. The museum is already home to 1.8 million objects - including paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects - and one of the largest and oldest photography collections in the nation.

A number of galleries and exhibits have already closed in preparation for the work, and select pieces from them will be relocated and put back on display later this year.

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