Past Exhibitions


woman in tub of oil Caspian: The Elements

April 27, 2019–March 12, 2020

Caspian: The Elements features the evocative imagery of Chloe Dewe Mathews, the 2014 recipient of the Peabody Museum’s Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography.  The exhibit documents her extraordinary five-year journey through the contested borderlands of the Caspian Sea.



Nasca Ceramics: Ancient Art from Peru's South Coast

October 1, 2016–January 21, 2020

Adorned with vibrant hues and intricate designs, ceramic vessels made by the Nasca people are a strikingly beautiful testament to a culture that flourished along Peru’s arid southern coast 2,000 years ago. 



Arts of War gallery viewArts of War: Artistry in Weapons Across Cultures

October 18, 2014–August 18, 2019

More than 150 striking examples of weapons that are also extraordinary works of art



Tsamgao_with_homemade_clay_camera_1955.jpgKalahari Perspectives: Anthropology, Photography, and the Marshall Family

September 29, 2018–March 31, 2019

Photographs of the Ju/’hoansi and Gwi at work and play heralded a transformation in depictions of Kalahari hunter-gatherers. 



"Cut Lip" Moche ceramicsMoche Ceramics

October 3, 2015–July 8, 2018

The Moche archaeological culture, which thrived along the north coast of Peru between 1,100 and 1,700 years ago, has received worldwide attention and acclaim for its distinctive and elaborately crafted pottery.




Four-Hole Ocarina Bird from Costa Rica

Ocarinas of the Americas: Music Made in Clay

October 3, 2015–July 8, 2018

This bilingual exhibit (English and Spanish) featured nearly 80 spectacular examples of ocarinas from the Peabody Museum’s vast collection. Uncovered at archaeological sites in Central America and Mexico, these musical instruments were crafted from local low-fired clay and carefully fashioned, incised, and painted into a variety of human and animal forms.

mummy mask

In Fine Feather: Selected Featherwork from the Peabody Collections

April 13, 2016–September 11, 2016

In Fine Feather featured unusual and rarely seen works of spiritual power and craftsmanship.




Pacific Islands Hall. Photo by Barry Hetherington.Pacific Islands Hall 

Through April 30, 2015

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


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

March 25, 2010–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 explored global mobility, encounter, and exchange in colonial encounters among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.



Photo by Kevin BubriskiShadows of Shangri La: Nepal in Photographs

May 2014–September 30, 2014

From the sacred temples and congested streets of Kathmandu to the remote mountain villages of the Karnali Zone, photographer Kevin Bubriski has documented Nepal and its people since 1975.

Now online!


Huaca Luna Friezes detail

Storied Walls: Murals of the Americas

March 13, 2008–April 30, 2014

Throughout time and around the world, people have adorned the walls of their homes, palaces, tombs, temples, and government buildings with painted scenes and designs. Storied Walls explored spectacular wall paintings in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

photo by Stephen Dupont

Stephen Dupont: Papua New Guinea Portraits and Diaries

May 2, 2013–September 2, 2013

Photographs and an artist’s notebook document the Westernization of traditional society in Papua New Guinea from lawlessness in urban Port Moresby to cultural struggles throughout the Highlands and Sepik River region.

model kayak

Conservators at Work: Alaska's Historic Kayaks Renewed

October 26, 2011–August 28, 2013

Conservators worked in the Hall of the North American Indian gallery Mondays Noon-3, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2-5.

from daguerreotypes to digitalFrom Daguerreotype to Digital: Anthropology and Photography

June 28, 2012–April 7, 2013

With photographs, cameras, and video, the exhibition explored how photographic innovations helped anthropologists expand the study of world cultures.

Jazmin teaching. Photo by Ximena VargasShooting for Peace: Youth Behind the Lens

November 17, 2011–May 31, 2012

The young Colombian photographers’ images have graced the walls of the U.N. General Assembly Building and the National Geographic Society, but for the children, the exhibits in their own communities are the most meaningful.

Native Life in the Americas: Artists' Views

May 4, 2011–February 28, 2012

Native Life showcased the work of important though not well-known artists who focused on various aspects of Native American life and culture.

House of Love, Dayanita Singh

House of Love: Photographic Fiction, Dayanita Singh

March 2, 2011–September 5, 2011

As the Museum’s 2008 Robert Gardner Photography Fellow, Dayanita Singh explored the human condition through images that began as a photographic diary and became the photographic fiction she titled House of Love

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masked festivals of canton boMasked Festivals of Canton Bo, Southwest Ivory Coast

May 27, 2009–March 31, 2011

Through rare drawings and photographs, along with masks from the Peabody Museum collections, Masked Festivals explored the different kinds of masked spirit forms and their performances.

Now online!

Spying on the Past: Declassified Satellite Images and Archaeology

April 29, 2010–January 30, 2011

Using declassified U.S. government spy satellite and aerial images, Harvard student archaeologists explored sites in Northern Mesopotamia and South America. These images were both visually arresting and potent archaeological tools. Four case studies in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Peru revealed complex early cities, extensive trackways, intricate irrigation canals and even traces of nomadic journeys.

Now online!

Song for children artwork

Sacred Spaces: Reflections on a Sufi Path

October 22, 2009–April 3, 2010

"Song for Children." Mixed media. Samina Quraeshi, 2009

guy                        tillim imageAvenue Patrice Lumumba: Photographs by Guy Tillim

April 29, 2009–September 8, 2009

two boys with altar UFragile Memories: Images of Archaeology and Community at Copan, 1891–1900

June 4, 2008–April 6, 2009

Now online!

Awatovi archaeologists dancingRemembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona, 1935-1939

September 25, 2008-April 30, 2009

Now online!

Tlingit SpoonsFeeding the Ancestors: Tlingit Carved Horn Spoons

May 2, 2008–April 25, 2008

Now online!

Remix Poster

Remix: Indigenous Identities in the 21st Century

April 5, 2008–October 19, 2008

Samurai WarriorA Good Type: Tourism and Science in Early Japanese Photographs

October 25, 2007–April 30, 2008

Now online!

Archuen Kitchen Vanished Kingdoms: the Wulsin Photographs of Tibet, China, and Mongolia, 1921–1925

April 11, 2007–November 9, 2007


Rockefeller photograph of boys at playMichael Rockefeller: New Guinea Photographs, 1961

November 15, 2006–February 28, 2007

Now online!

Mecklenburg Iron Age Collection A Noble Pursuit: The Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection from Iron Age Slovenia

April 19, 2006–September 4, 2006

Now online!

Reconfiguring KoreaReconfiguring Korea: Roger Marshutz's Photographs of Pusan, 1952–1954

February 15, 2006–September 30, 2006

Now online!

Moche of Ancient PeruThe Moche of Ancient Peru: Media and Messages

October 21, 2005–November 30, 2007

Now online!

Gifts of the Great RiverGifts of the Great River: Arkansas Effigy Pottery from the Curtiss Collection

June 2, 2005–October 31, 2005

Now online!

Native American DelegationBreaking the Silence: Native American Photography and Federal Indian Policy

April 14, 2005–December 31, 2005

Now online!

Berber Triangular BroochImazighen! Beauty and Artisanship in Berber Life

December 2, 2004–August 30, 2006

Now online!

Marsh Arabs of IraqField Photography: The Marsh Arabs of Iraq, 1934

October 21, 2004–February 28, 2005

Now online!

Bringing Japan to Boston ExhibitBringing Japan to Boston: The Edward S. Morse Collection

May 20, 2004–April 30, 2005

!Kung GirlRegarding the Kalahari: The Marshall Family and the Ju/'hoansi !Kung, 1950–1961

March 17, 2004–September 15, 2004

Nation to NationFrom Nation to Nation: Examining Lewis and Clark's Indian Collection

December 11, 2003–September 30, 2008

Now online!

Prince of Alashan, MongoliaPortraits from China, 1923—1946: Photographers and Their Subjects

September 18, 2003–January 15, 2004

Mimbres PotteryPainted by a Distant Hand: Mimbres Pottery from the American Southwest

May 29, 2003–December 2004

Boots ExhibitThese Shoes Were Made for ... Walking?

February 7, 2003–February 2004

Now online!

Charles LummisCharles Fletcher Lummis: Southwestern Portraits, 1888-1896

October 18, 2002–August 31, 2003

Tapa ClothEmbedded Nature: Tapa Cloths from the Pacific Islands

March 6, 2002–August 1, 2003

Now online!

Casts GalleryDistinguished Casts: Curating Lost Monuments at the Peabody Museum

October 3, 2001–February 1, 2004

heads and tales exhibitionHeads and Tales: Adornments from Africa

December 9, 1999-October 1, 2001

Now online!