SALEM, MA— Dr. Sunita Pereira, MD, has joined the board of trustees of the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America and the country’s oldest continuously operating museum.
Pereira first came to PEM in 2010 when she and her husband, Brian, were invited for the Indian ambassador’s visit to the museum. She was immediately taken with the warmth and enthusiasm of the Trustees, Indophiles, art lovers and museum leadership members that she met, and the more she visited, the more she felt a deep connection. “I fell in love with this institution that is a center for discovery, learning and enjoyment for all the senses, for all ages,” said Pereira. “It is truly a gem.”
As an intensive care neonatal physician, Pereira finds PEM Director Dan Monroe’s interest in applying neuroscience in a museum setting particularly intriguing.
“I am fascinated by the questions of fetal and neonatal learning and how we can use multi-sensory inputs to improve cognition especially in extremely premature babies,” she said.
Pereira is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the division of newborn medicine at Tufts Medical Center.
On the subject of becoming a PEM board member, Pereira shares that she felt compelled by the many stimulating discussions on the crucial future of museums as one “not considered a place for the elites and elderly to visit, but a place that is welcoming to all, and brings in young children and families and transforms learning, initiates conversations about difficult issues that divide us.”
She has so many wonderful memories of PEM that favorites are hard to pick. The installation of Intersections (2015) and panel discussions with south Asian artists come to mind, but two shows that she found truly outstanding and brilliantly curated were Rodin: Transforming Sculpture and American Impressionism: Childe Hassam and the Isles of Shoals. Pereira remembers fondly the moment that little Callia Range, diagnosed with gross motor delays, was able to move alongside one of the dancers in Rodin.
“PEM is a unique museum, and its staff are so warm, approachable, friendly and encouraging that even a young child visiting the museum feels comfortable and engaged and inspired,” she said. “My vision for PEM is that it continues to grow and stay an inviting place that transform lives by using art.”
(Published with permission from PEM Connections.)