Mightier Than a Wrecking Ball: How Ada Louise Huxtable Saved Salem
Friday, September 25 | 1:30 to 5 pm

Reception to follow

SALEM, MA – The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) hosts a Historic Salem Inc. symposium on Friday, September 25, featuring prominent architecture critics, historians and experts to celebrate the legacy of The New York Timesarchitecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable.

In 1965, an urban renewal plan was set to build a four-lane road through what is now PEM’s Asian Garden. As many as 103 buildings across 39 acres of Salem’s historic core would have been razed for roadways and parking lots. An act of investigative journalism interrupted the wrecking ball. Ada Louise Huxtable, renowned architecture critic and champion of preservation, published her landmark article of dissent in The New York Times decrying Salem’s urban renewal plans. Her advocacy became a harbinger of the National Preservation Act of 1966.

This symposium, conceived by Historic Salem Inc. and jointly sponsored by PEM, Historic New England and a grant from the National Trust, brings together prominent architecture critics, historians and experts to consider what almosthappened in Salem – and how the issues at play in 1965 continue to be critical today.

Keynote address by Christopher Hawthorne, the architecture critic of The Los Angeles Times. A panel features: Eric Gibson, leisure and arts editor of The Wall Street Journal; Carl Nold, president and CEO of Historic New England; Elizabeth Padjen, former editor of Architecture Boston; and Donovan Rypkema, a development consultant and authority on the economics of preservation.


PEM, Historic Salem and Historic New England members $40, nonmembers $45, includes museum admission. For reservations, call 978-542-1511 or visit pem.org/calendar.


Architecture critic and industrial designer Ada Louise Huxtable (March 21, 1974). Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images.

Sponsored by Historic Salem Inc. with generous support from PEM, Historic New England and a grant from the National Trust.

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is one of the oldest and fastest growing museums in North America. At its heart is a mission to transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections and the vital importance of creative expression. Founded in 1799, the museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time –– including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, as well as Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM’s campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities, performance spaces and historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House, a 200‐year‐old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm and the third Thursday of every month until 9 pm. Closed Mondays (except holidays), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. ADMISSION: Adults $18; seniors $15; students $10. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 17 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang. INFO: Call 866‐745‐1876 or visit our Web site at www.pem.org



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