Back with Even More Repurposed Drawers!

Contributed by Emma Lavoie

With the completion of our inventory, we have even more drawers to share with you that were repurposed by friends of the Peabody!

Hundreds of old collection drawers were given away throughout the Peabody’s collection inventory and rehousing project. These drawers were then transformed into furniture, décor, art, trays, storage, organizers, and gifts.

Our past blogs featured many different and unique drawer projects and we loved seeing the creativity used in giving these old drawers a new purpose. You can check these projects out here and here.

The wooden drawers were a part of the original storage for the Peabody collections, housing over 600,000 artifacts. To learn more about the history of these drawers in the Peabody Institute and collection check out our blog, Behind the Photograph: Unpacking the Peabody Collection.

The following drawer features were contributed by friends of the Peabody both on and off Phillips Academy campus. First up are several painted drawers used for various décor purposes. A little paint and stain can go a long way in repurposing the look of a drawer.

Painted and stained drawers

This particular drawer is a charming holiday tray, painted and customized as a fun way to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. Don’t forget the carrot for Rudolph too!

Holiday tray created out of an original Peabody drawer

Some of our old drawers were transformed into incredible pieces of art by Jamie K. Gibbons, Head of Education at the Addison Gallery of American Art. Follow and support her work here!

Artwork by Jamie K. Gibbons, Addison Gallery of American Art

To commemorate the Peabody’s Inventory completion and thank donors, staff, and volunteers who played a role in the process, puzzle pieces were created from drawers by Get On Board – Signs and More as well as puzzle boxes by the Makerspace at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) on Phillips Academy Andover campus.

Puzzle pieces and puzzle box made out of drawers

A huge thank you to all of those who have repurposed drawers and have shared their projects with us. If you’d like to feature your repurposed drawer project, please email your photos to Emma Lavoie, Peabody Administrative Assistant, at

Disney’s Encanto and Intergenerational Trauma

Contributed by Lindsay Randall

SPOILERS ahead for the movie Encanto.

During an incredibly cold weekend in January, I was bundled up on my couch and looking for a movie to stream. I finally settled one that Disney+ had just recently released, Encanto.  I had no idea what the movie was about, past the short blurb that was provided on the info page before the movie started:

After finishing the movie, I will only admit to really enjoying it and any rumors you may have heard from my cats about me being a blubbering, crying mess throughout it, are lies. All lies!

Disney’s Encanto is a movie different from most. Despite what some viewers have said about Abuela being the villain of the story, there is no “villain” personified that the characters must defeat, as is typical in such movies. Instead all the characters must overcome something more overwhelming and real, which is threatening their home: intergenerational trauma. 

At the beginning of the movie, the matriarch of the Madrigal family, Abuela Alma faces armed violence and suffers incredible loss, while fleeing with her husband and three babies. After a harrowing night, in which her husband dies, she receives a miracle of a magic candle that helps to create a magical casita (house) inside a magically hidden town.

The candle grants all members of the Madrigal family unique gifts….. all except young Mirabel. This lack of a gift causes some underlying tensions between Mirabel and her family and serves as the main vehicle for the story. Then there is a missing uncle, cracks in the casita, diminishing powers, some adorable rats, and an ear-worm of a song (we don’t talk about Bruno!) to round out the story. 

The experience that Abuela has in the first few minutes of the movie has a continued impact on her relationship with her children and grandchildren, as well as on their own development.

After many fraught interactions (and songs!) Abuela tells her granddaughter Mirabel  “I was given a miracle, a second chance, but I was so afraid to lose it that I lost sight of who our miracle was for….. I am so sorry… We are broken because of me.” Showing that you can break the cycle of trauma. 

It was incredibly interesting to see a children’s movie deal with such a weighty topic in such a sensitive a way that does not diminish the damaging influence it has, but also shows that there is a possibility to begin to heal from this particular type of trauma. 

Many of our classes at the Peabody touch upon some aspect of historical trauma in indigenous communities, with the boarding school experience being one of the main ones that we explore.  Given the prevalence that it has in our teaching, I look forward to making connections to a movie many of our students will know as a means to enhance their understanding of such a profound topic.

To read more about the reactions to Encanto