Current Exhibitions

Special Exhibitions

 Artistry in Weapons across CulturesNEW: Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures

Through October 2017

From maces, clubs, daggers, and spears, to shields, helmets, and entire suits of armor, this exhibition offers more than 150 striking examples of weapons that are also extraordinary works of art.

See a preview of the exhibit online by clicking here.


The Legacy of Penobscot CanoesThe Legacy of Penobscot Canoes: A View from the River

Through April 30, 2016

Explore the enduring importance of rivers and canoes in Penobscot tribal life and on relationships between the tribe and non-Indians. This new installation will feature a rarely seen full-size bark canoe purchased from Penobscot Indian Francis Sebattis in 1912, as well as stone tools collected by Henry David Thoreau, who described the Penobscot and their canoes in The Maine Woods.

Translating EncountersTranslating Encounters: Travel and Transformation in the Early Seventeenth Century

Through April 30, 2015

Wonder, confusion, and curiosity: just a few of the responses by Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans in the age of exploration, as each struggled to comprehend the other. Inspired by collections of the Peabody Museum, Houghton Library, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, this exhibit broadly explores global mobility, encounter, and exchange in colonial encounters among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.


 Lakota Images of the Contested WestWiyohpiyata: Lakota Images of the Contested West

Through June 30, 2016

Co-curators Castle McLaughlin and Lakota artist Butch Thunder Hawk use ambient sound, motion, scent, and historic and contemporary Plains art to animate nineteenth century Lakota drawings from a warrior’s ledger collected at the Little Bighorn battlefield. This exhibit presents Lakota perspectives on westward expansion while exploring culturally-shaped relationships between words, objects, and images. Related Publication: Lakota War Book from the Little Bighorn: The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon” by Castle McLaughlin (Houghton Library/Peabody Museum Press)

Digging VeritasDigging Veritas: The Archaeology and History of the Indian College and Student Life at Colonial Harvard

Through December 31, 2015

Using archaeological finds from Harvard Yard, historic maps, and more, the Digging Veritas exhibition reveals how students lived at colonial Harvard, and the role of the Indian College in Harvard’s early years.

Digging Veritas Online

Ongoing Exhibitions

Encounters with the Americas

Encounters explores the native cultures of Latin America before and after 1492, when the first voyage of Christopher Columbus initiated dramatic worldwide changes.


Day of the DeadDay of the Dead/Día de los Muertos

The Peabody's exhibition of a Day of the Dead altar or ofrenda is located in the Encounters with the Americas gallery. It represents the original Aztec origins of the holiday and the Catholic symbols incorporated into the tradition.





Hall of the North American IndianChange & Continuity: Hall of the North American Indian

Diverse North American cultures are explored through the objects produced by indigenous peoples of the nineteenth century. The Changes and Continuity exhibit considers historic interactions between native peoples and Europeans during a period of profound social change. 


Pacific Islands Hall. Photo by Barry Hetherington.Pacific Islands Hall  (Closing April 30, 2015)

The Hall features a diverse array of artifacts from the Pacific Islands brought to the Museum by Boston’s maritime merchants.