Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faberge Eggs at the Peabody Essex Museum


I got a flyer in the mail from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, announcing the opening of it's Faberge exhibit.  Many, many years ago, I went to a Faberge egg / objects exhibit in New York (or maybe in Chicago) and I was completely enthralled.  The eggs are magnificient and the surprise inside each is unbelievable.  I immediately made a plan to take my children to the PEM to see the collection for themselves.  

Sadly, the Peabody Essex exhibit is not the same as the exhibit I saw (probably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York) years ago.  That exhibit was enormous and included many eggs along with tiaras and jewels.  This PEM exhibit was much smaller and centered mostly on Faberge's enamel frames and carved stone critters.  That's not to say that the exhibit wasn't interesting - it was.  I'm only saying that the fabulous jewels that I told the girls that they would be seeing, really weren't there.

We opted for the audio tour and picked our headsets up at the beginning.  This wasn't really necessary since the audio tour basically recited the wall placard, word for word.  I gave up on my audio tour fairly quickly and so did Josie.  Georgia (Miss Type A) listened to every sentence because when she accepts a challange - or an audio headset - she is going to see that challenge (or audio headset) to it's bitter end.

I wasn't certain if you were allowed to take photos in the exhibit, so I didn't, until I found a guard who told me it was okay.  The first part of the tour was mostly the aforementioned frames and critters.  

The frames were nice, but the critters were amazing.  Our favorites included a bunch of french bulldogs and rooster.

Between galleries, there was an swing space where patrons could make their own faberge egg using magnetic jewels.


I wasn't sure how much longer the tour was going to last, and so I allowed the girls to take their time putting together their own jewelled egg.


Each chose an imperial symbol and many, many jewels.


Here's Josie by her creation:


and Georgia by hers:


The Peabody Essex Museum might not have had many eggs to display, but what they lacked in actual merchandise, they made up for in placards, photos and displays.  The curator of this exhibit did a wonderful job.  The placards were well-written and informative.  I enjoyed looking at all the photos of the Romanov family and seeing interior photos of their palace (which, incidentily, Georgia thought should be nominated for an episode of Hoarders) with all their Faberge finery.

Josie enjoyed looking through a copy of a coffee table book on Faberge that was sitting on a bench for patrons to admire:



I think there were only two actual eggs to look at:



The blue and gold egg that was featured on all the literature and a Red Cross egg that held photos of the four Romanov daughters and their mother in nurse garb.

It was a little disappointing, but not really.  The exhibit was a good one, even though it lacked the sparkle we had come to see.

We ended our journey as we always do:


in the cafe.


The Faberge Exhibit is at home at the Peabody Essex Museum until the fall, so check it out if you are able.  

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