Posting General Information for now-full review later
Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Adults $15, Seniors $13, Students $11
Youth (16 and under) and Salem, Mass. residents admitted free.
Members admitted free to all sites
The National Parks Service has control of a large are along the harbor, and tours includes The Friendship sailing ship, the Derby and Narbonne Houses, and the Custom House. All of these are well worth the time and the tours are very informative. Fees are $5 for each tour and seniors pay $3. One covers the Freedom and Custom HOuse, while the other is for Derby and Narbonne houses. The Ranger said that on occasions during the summer, they take people out on additional one hour tours on the tall ship.
Salem was a shipbuilding town from mid 1600's and that continued to early 1800's. They became known for junckets around the world to purchase goods, a lot of them exotic and luxury items. In early 1700's, and lasting to 1830's range, overseas trading made a few merchants the most wealthy in America. Elias Derby was one of those, but also William Gray who owned 181 vessels, and Simon Forester were three more prominent
The Derby HOuse was the most elegant in Salem and Elias Derby was a millionare, maybe the first in the US, and made a lot of money from the Revolutionary War taking a share of British goods they pirated. He showed off the wealth by having a brick home and furnishings from around the world. He took over dad's merchant shipping business in 1783 at age 44, and had 7 children. The fleet was once 13 vessels; fleet of went around the world. His son took over in 1799 when dad died, but he ran the business in the ground and the family became destitute, with many negative debts. Through the years the home was sold and ended up with donation to Parks Service in 1937. A lot of thew wharfs had been filled in with dirt by then. In the heh day, they had one merchant ship a day go out to buy goods. The captains kept 10-20% of the goods, and could also buy for his own account. Park Service got a lot of original pieces donated by the Derby family heirs
Narbonne house was from around 1640, as a first meat butcher shop on the retail row. Later is was a dry goods store, and a dress/sewing shop (sisters lived here 65 yrs-and passed down to relatives) Numerous additions were made and some taken back down over the years. Last heir occupants lived here until 1973, then the Park Service got the donation
Thee type ships were in use mid 1700's through early 1800's. Then steam ships and Clipper ships took the activity. The original Friendship was build in 1796, and sailed 15 voyages until it was captured by the British in 1812, and later sold in England. This is a replica build in 1996 for millions-said the Ranger. It goes out on the water 6-7 times a years and makes tall ship tours. FActs are it is 342 tons, 171 feet in length and has 5 miles of rigging ropes. They would have 24 people on board and stay out for 1-6 months. They went around the world. In the Revolutionary War there were 158 privateer ships raiding British ships, and they kept 10-20% of goods on board. Merchants got wealthy, and took over 445 British ships. The harbor at one time had 50 wharfs and only 3 are now left. The rest are filled in.
This Custom House was first started construction in 1819. It took 50 years to complete, and by that time is was really not needed. The purpose originally was to compete as a major port having a merchant ship a day some into port. The main, and maybe sole source of Federal Government revenue was taxing import goods. In 1820, it was $17 million collected and represented 85% of revenue to support the country. Salem and shipping was dying, and by 1830's it was a a rapid decline. By 1850's, Salem was of lesser importance. Scales were taken out to the ships and goods were weighed and taxed. A typical tall ship could carry 3,000 tons and it would generate $18,000 taxes. Nathaniel Hawthorne had the prominent role of scale manager, until he fell out with the elite in the community over issues. He later belittled the Custom HOuse in his book. The eagle in the house is from 1826 and was brown until 1873, when gilded gold. Later it was taken down and a replica was put up to preserve the original
Originally located a few blocks away on Union Street the building was moved in 1958 because it is the house in which Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4th 1804 .
The house of part of the House of Seven Gables tour.
Dedicated in 1992, 300 years after the Salem witch trials, this simple but moving memorial commemorates the life and death of the innocent men and women who died as a result of the witchcraft histeria that took hold of the city in its early Puritan beginnings. The memorial is located just outside of The Burying Point, the oldest burying ground in the city of Salem, where lie some of the judges in the Witchcraft trials.
The Witch Dungeon Museum does a live reenactment of the 1892 Witch trials in Salem. The line (like the Witch museum across town) is very, very long. It gives basically the same story, so you may not want to do both in one day. The lines take up a lot of time, I suppose it would depend on how long you are planning to stay in town. This does have the benefit of having real actors instead of light up dioramas, but I would not suggest to bypass the other museum, silmpy because it is a Salem landmark. It would be almost like going to Yellowstone and not seeing Old faithful, or London without seeing Big Ben. Might not be the highlight of your trip, but still you have to do it. Anyway, long story short, stop by here if you have some extra time.....
Here you will find all of your favorite movie stars and monsters from supernatural Hollywood.
Nobody celebrates Halloween quite like Salem, Massachusetts. Whether you are seeking Haunted Houses or unique and spooktacular gifts, Salem is the destination for October fun!
Ain't that the truth?
I'm not sure how many pirate museums there are in the world, but this one certainly commemorates 17th century's sea-robbers of New England. I didn't visit it, I discovered it when I was leaving Salem and only took this picture. Check some more here - that's how easily you can spot the building, it really catches the eye :-)
I imagine it must be fun for kids! Apparently the museum offers an up to 30 minutes' tour among authentic pirate treasures, a walk in recreated dockside village, boarding a pirate ship, exploring a cave with hidden treasures, etc. Check some more info here - don't make my mistake of assuming that Salem is only all about the 'witches' :-]
Tickets are at $6 ($4 for children). Or choose a Combination Ticket with the Witch Dungeon Museum and the Witch History Museum.
Pirates, and not accused witches, were the real rascals and villains of 1692 in Olde Salem Towne.
The little-known history of New England sea-robbers comes alive at the Pirate Museum. Notorious pirate captains, such as; Kidd, Blackbeard, Bellamy and Quelch, roamed the waters off Boston's North Shore, known as the Gold Coast . At the Museum relive the adventures of the pirates, who roamed freely offshore plundering merchant ships.
May through October...10am to 5pm
Weekends in November
Some nights during Haunted Happenings
Group Rates Available upon request
Combination Ticket available with the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum.
The inspiration for the historical novel. You can visit and tour the house. It's right by the sea - very pretty. If you don't want to pay the entrance fee you can still get a good photo of the house if you walk down to the bottom of Turner Street. There are also lots of other pretty houses to see on Turner Street.
The entry fee is not the cheapest at $12.50 per adult.
Open all year round - or partially open. We had free entry as not all of the museum was open. We were lucky enough to have a personal guide - a lovely student with curly ginger hair who was very passionate about the subject of fear leading to intolerance.
There are displays of societies traditional images of witches - herbs, historical timelines and a model of modern day Wiccans.
Thhe museum has a shop that sells witchy related things and also items related to the local area.
"I am no witch. I know nothing of it... Oh Lord, help me! It is false... If it was the last moment I was to live, God knows I am innocent... I do plead not guilty."
Pleas of mercy from the 20 victims from 1692 mark the ground at the entrance to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and we must step over the stones to go in. I'm aware that this is symbolic, as though we aren't listening to their cases and are instead walking on them. There is a lump in my throat and I can feel my eyes stinging. Memorials dedicated to the deaths of innocent people have always done this to me; it's hard for me to keep composure when faced with just how cruel humanity can be to its own.
This is the most important thing you will see in Salem! ...20 simple granite slabs etched with the names, dates, and method of execution of the people who were killed during the hysteria of the witch trials. Visitors here have left flowers, corn-husk effigies, candy, and gifts.
Volumes have been written on the subject of what happened in 1692 in Salem, the reasons surrounding it, the trials, and the resulting executions. It's too complicated to explain in detail, but basically a small group of Puritan teenage girls began behaving oddly--throwing fits, screaming, making strange noises. They accused fellow townsfolk of witchcraft as the cause of their affliction. Arrests were made, trials took place, and executions carried out.
This memorial, designed by architect James Cutler and artist Maggie Smith, was dedicated in 1992 as part of Salem's 300th commemoration of the trials.
Read the names and think on them as you walk down the park's gravel path:
"Bridget Bishop, Hanged, June 10 1692... Sarah Good, Hanged, July 19 1692... Susannah Martin, Hanged, July 10 1692... Giles Corey, Pressed to Death, Sept 19 1692..." The list goes on and on.
These were real people! They could have been your mother, your sister, your wife, your brother. We have to stop behaving like this! Witch hunts of all kinds must remain a thing of the past. Please, if you only do one thing is Salem, think on these people for awhile.
We're led into a dark room illuminated only by a giant glowing red circle inset into the floor which lists the names of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. In my mind, the glowing circle is reminiscent of some sort of Satanic pentacle. The doors to the theatre close and everything goes dark. "Oh, this is going to be so good," I'm thinking to myself, "I bet some actors come out and scare the hell out of us."
"Welcome to the Salem Witch Museum!," a giant recorded voice booms. "What you are about to see are the real events that took place...", and it begins to tell the long story of the hysteria and trials that happened in Salem in the late 17th Century. Lights turn on and off in about a dozen small diorama-type enclosures above our heads where mannequins with wax heads are posed in scenes that accompany the narrative. When the scene is the one taking place right above you, you have to crane your neck up and backwards to try and see what's up there.
"Errhm.... This really isn't what I had in mind," I think, "And we're not even allowed to take pictures of the dummies?"
The narrative was informative and thorough. ...Maybe a little too thorough because although the presentation was probably only a half-hour, it seemed like a small forever to me. I look around the darkness and can see a lot of bored kids and people falling asleep.
We're led by a guide into the second part of the museum that tells the story of witches in social perception and compares the persecution of Pagans with other minorities throughout history. A diorama here shows a witch on a broomstick and she looks suspiciously like the Wicked Witch of the West from "the Wizard of Oz"; it gives me the chills. ...Especially when the guide hits a button and it begins to speak and cackle. Yikes!
And then we're set free into the Salem Witch Museum's gift shop. The gift shop is colourful and there's lots of little witchy and monstery things to look at. I buy some postcards and a map of historical Salem.
Although it was great to learn all the background information about the Salem Witch Trials, I still wished we had've been able to take photos of the displays. What's so secretive about mannequins anyway? It's not like the flashes hurt their eyes or make them forget their lines something. Real witches probably would have posed for the cameras!