Do you believe in witches? Don't answer until you’ve visited the Salem Witch Museum, located north of Boston. This remarkable museum brings you back to Salem Village as it existed in 1692. Visitors are given a dramatic history lesson using stage sets with life-size figures, lighting and narration. Learn about the word “witch” in the “Witches: Evolving Perception” exhibit, a provocative tour that examines the pagan midwife, the associations that led to the stereotypical “witch” perception, modern witchcraft and the phenomenon of the witch hunt. The presentation is also available in Japanese, French German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
In the spring of 1692, fear struck terror into the hearts of Salems’ citizens, as 180 people were accused and imprisoned for witchcraft, essentially held captive and defenseless against what were often baseless allegations. A court formed to defend the so-called witches only led to further accusations, and the infamous “witch hunt” was born.
The Salem Witch Museum shows visitors the “Hysteria Sites” on an interactive map, as quoted in a 1692 book of the same name, depicting original houses, foundations, gravesites, indicated by historic markers, where witches were alleged to have existed. Sites are spread throughout Salem, Boston, and other towns like Andover, Beverly, Haverhill, Marblehead, Peabody, Salisbury and Wehnam, and the unique map shows how widespread the panic grew to be.
Salem is arguably the most popular Halloween destinations in the nation, and even the town’s name brings to mind the haunting scenes described in textbooks and works of popular fiction and literature such as The Crucible. The Salem Witch Museum is the most-visited attraction in the town, and offers an entertaining, informative, and well…haunting look at the actual events around the witch hunts and trials held in Massachusetts in the 17th century.
The Salem Witch Museum store offers souvenirs and artisanal crafts ranging from the delightful to the delightfully tacky (including some outrageous Halloween costumes that will guarantee that you are the most authentic witch at the party next year). Don’t miss the chance to learn about the witches of Salem and the ensuing witch hunts and trials, easily one of the most interesting and captivating eras in colonial American history.
Daily, 10:00 am-5:30 pm. Extended hours in July and August.