The expansion will add up to 75,000 square feet of new galleries; a new restaurant and roof garden; new public program and education space; and essential improvements to collections storage, exhibition processing and conservation functions.

Increased gallery space for permanent exhibitions will permit the museum to more effectively present its large and diverse collection - which exceeds 1.8 million works of art and culture - through new installations employing creative interpretive strategies aimed at increasing visitor engagement in art and highlighting connections among artistic and cultural traditions.

The design will complement the 2003 Moshe Safdie addition, and highlight Yin Yu Tang, the museum's unique Qing dynasty Chinese house, and East India Marine Hall, a National Historic Landmark.

Founded in 1799 by many of America's first global entrepreneurs, PEM's collection encompasses broad cross-sections of American, Asian, Asian export, African, Oceanic, maritime, photography and Native American art plus early American and Chinese architecture. PEM's collection is among the finest of its kind in several areas. The collection includes 1.8 million objects, 22 historic buildings (including four National Historic Landmark buildings and six structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places), plus Yin Yu Tang, the unique Qing dynasty Chinese house.

As one of America's most significant art and cultural institutions The Peabody Essex Museum has a collection of objects and artefacts of unrivalled breadth and quality. The challenge of how to expand the institution and display these objects in new and engaging ways, making them relevant for today's audience is at the forefront of Rick Mather Architects' expansion proposals. "Rick Mather and his team are known for an uncanny ability to harmoniously combine contemporary designs with historic structures, for which he has a great appreciation and understanding," said Josh Basseches, deputy director at PEM.

Construction of the expansion is due to be on site in early 2014 with enabling works already underway.

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