Monday, October 5, 2009

The Salem Witch Museum

The Salem Witch Museum is one of the most dramatic sites in Salem. Located in a stone building, which was originally the Second Church Unitarian (built in 1845), the Salem Witch Museum looms large over Washington Square and all of Salem.

The Salem Witch Museum has been interpreting the Witch Trials of 1692 since 1972. The first exhibit tells will tell you about the girls who were afflicted, the innocent people they accused, and the legal system that condemned them.

The second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, the meanings of the word "Witch" are examined, including MGM's Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz, the midwife, and modern witches. This exhibit also includes a panel that puts social witch hunts into perspective, leaving you with a deeper understanding of how closely 1692 and our contemporary world are connected.

Interpretation of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 does not stop at these two exhibits. The Salem Witch Museum has an excellent web site that includes a tour of sites in the region that are connected to the Salem Witch Trials. This is a self-guided tour that is best driven (or it could make a lovely bike ride!) and it is a great way to expand upon what you learn at the Salem Witch Museum.

And then there is the gift shop. In this gift shop you will find the perfect gift to take home to the people who didn't get to come to Salem, you will find Salem candy, jewelry, and Witches Balls, and you will find an excellent book selection. If the Salem Witch Museum leaves you wanting to know more, and to dig deeper into this piece of American history, browse the excellent books in the store - online or in the museum. The greatest attention has been paid to which books should be sold, and thus recommended, by The Salem Witch Museum.

The Salem Witch Museum is open year-round, and presentations are scheduled throughout the day. If you plan to visit during October, I recommend going to the Salem Witch Museum in the morning to purchase your tickets, which will be for a timed entry during the day. This is one of the most visited sites in Massachusetts - they will sell out, so make sure you get your tickets early in October!

One more thing, the presentation is translated into Cantonese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Russian. Now, you are probably reading this post in English and don't need all of those language options, but perhaps you and a friend visiting from Germany, or a French exchange student... The Salem Witch Museum would love to see you and your guests - wherever they hail from!

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