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Peabody Essex Museum, Inc. (Salem, MA 01970-3726)
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan (Project Director: August 2017 to November 2021)
Empresses of China's Forbidden City

Implementation of the installation of a 10,000-square-foot-exhibition exploring the role of empresses in China’s Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).

Organized by the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Freer|Sackler), and the Palace Museum, Beijing, The Last Empresses of China is the first international exhibition to explore the role of empresses in shaping China’s Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Empresses exercised significant power in this male-dominated hierarchical society, even when it was officially denied them. Featuring approximately 150 objects, many loaned for the first time, the exhibition offers a dramatic view of empresses’ lives, providing visitors with an understanding of the roles they played in court politics, art, and religion. Timed to mark the fortieth anniversary of the normalization of US-China relations, Last Empresses will be presented at PEM, August 18, 2018 to February 10, 2019, and at the Freer|Sackler, March 30 to June 23, 2019.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Exhibitions: Implementation

Public Programs

$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2018 – 7/31/2019