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The Peabody Essex Museum appoints Dan Lipcan as the Ann C. Pingree Director of the Phillips Library
Prior to his tenure at PEM, Lipcan was the Associate Museum Librarian at Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art © 2019 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Bob Packert.

SALEM, MASS.- The Peabody Essex Museum announced that Dan Lipcan has been appointed as the Ann C. Pingree Director of PEM’s Phillips Library. Lipcan, who has served as PEM’s Head Librarian since 2019, has made significant headway in enhancing scholarly access, strengthening the library’s collections and operations, and increasing the library’s presence in the Museum’s galleries. In his new role, Lipcan will continue to lead ongoing digitization projects and help transform the highly-respected research library — with its rich and varied global collections — into an innovative and active intellectual hub that supports the overall mission of the museum.

"Dan has shown incredible dedication and leadership and we are delighted to see him assume this new role,” said John Childs, PEM’s Director of Collections. “He has spearheaded significant digitization initiatives and greatly expanded the amount of library material that is accessible via the internet. Notably, he was able to raise the profile of the Phillips Library, even during the pandemic, by creating and organizing online events and programs that have expanded our audience, and by significantly strengthening our ties to our sister library institutions throughout the region.”

Over the last two years Lipcan has served as curator of “My Dear Davey and Chester…” featuring the personal archive of letters and photographs from modern Indian art collectors Chester and Davida Herwitz and the second exhibition in a new gallery dedicated to showcasing material from the Phillips Library; and served as co-curator of Salem Witch Trials 1692, which presented rarely-exhibited original witch trial documents from the Library’s collection. He has reorganized the structure of the library staff to better serve all of its users and stakeholders and is in the process of developing a new Library Collection Plan that will help shape activities for the next 5 years.

Prior to his tenure at PEM, Lipcan was the Associate Museum Librarian at Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he led Watson’s digitization program and co-founded the Watson Library’s blog In Circulation. Lipcan holds a BA in Studio Art (Printmaking) from Allegheny College, an MLS from Queens College-CUNY, and in 2017 was selected to participate in the Columbia Business School Executive Development Program at The Met.

Ongoing Digitization Projects at PEM's Phillips Library

Since 2014, PEM’s Phillips Library has been continually enhancing digital access, enabling researchers around the globe to better access its vast and diverse collection. Early efforts focused on creating over 160,000 descriptive records for library materials in Philcat, PEM’s online library catalog and WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalog. During this process, it was determined that the library holds a significant proportion of material that is unique or rare.

In the last several years, PEM’s Phillips Library has undertaken another digitization initiative to make high-priority material widely available online. Working with the Internet Archive, a digital library that partners with the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, The Getty Research Institute, and Harvard University to provide “Universal Access to All Knowledge”, over 170 publications from PEM’s Phillips Library collection have been digitized in their entirety and are available online.

Working with Digital Commonwealth at Boston Public Library, PEM’s Phillips Library has provided universal access to more than 3,000 late-19th and early 20th-century photographs from the Frank Cousins Collection which prominently feature houses and cityscapes from Essex County, MA, and the Herman Parker Collection which chronicles boats, yachts and ocean views from Marblehead, MA.

Additionally, PEM’s Phillips Library recently acquired digitization equipment to allow fragile and oversized materials to be safely processed in-house and shared with a global audience.

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