Peabody Strategic Plan

Like many cultural institutions, the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology was affected by the financial crisis that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century. Although many museums could not weather the fiscal storm and had to close their doors, the Peabody had the benefit of the thoughtful leadership and innovative educators at its parent institution, Phillips Academy, as well as creative and resourceful personnel within its ranks to see it through that difficult time.

The Peabody emerged from the fiscal crisis with a new vision, one that sought to connect educators, scholars, students, and Native Americans through its significant collections and the stories those collections had to tell. Today at the Peabody, students thoughtfully confront the fraught history that has inexorably linked European, American, and Native American histories; they throw spears with an atlatl; they make pottery alongside contemporary Pueblo artists; they wrestle with statistics by analyzing ancient sherds; and they learn through observation and hands-on activities. What’s even more unusual and exciting about today’s Peabody is that these are talented and gifted high school students actively engaged in collaborative learning.

The next five years represent an opportunity for us to refine, assess, and optimize our vision for this great cultural institution. Gaining increased physical and intellectual control of our collections is a major focus for us as we move forward. Additional priorities are to strengthen our relationship with Native American communities and continue to focus on collaborative learning, particularly in the development of tools to assess our programs. In addition to these opportunities, however, the next five years will also present challenges. For example, how do we share what we are doing with people and communities beyond Phillips Academy? How do we build a broader base of support and buttress our endowment? The Peabody faced a crisis some 13 years ago and emerged as a new kind of museum. This strategic plan charts the museum’s course for the next five years and explores ways to celebrate our vision and connect with communities beyond Andover.