Salem, Massachusetts, is known for its unique history, but until now, no museum has focused exclusively on the many components of its past. Come Saturday, June 11, 2011, however, the city’s first Salem Museum will open, thanks to Gordon’s Institute for Public History, the Global Education Office and members of the Salem community. Located on the first floor of Salem’s Old Town Hall (which is managed by the Gordon Institute), the Museum’s grand opening runs from noon until 7 p.m. with a special reception on the second floor from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission for the first day is free and open to the public.
Exhibit topics include: “The Founding of Salem (1626)”; “The Salem Witch Trials (1692)”; “Salem and the American Revolution”(1775–1783); “Salem and the China Trade” (1785–1790); “Salem and the India Trade”(1789–1820), “Salem and the Pepper Trade” (1989–1795); “Nathaniel Hawthorne” (1804–1864); “Salem and the Civil War” (1860–1865) and “The Great Salem Fire of 1914."
Assistant professor of history and Civil War expert David Goss is directing the project along with curator Mary-Ellen Smiley and designers Ken Harris and Deborah Glabeau from Great Island Design. The Museum has received contributions from the City of Salem, the Peabody Essex Museum, The House of the Seven Gables, Beverly Public Library, Beverly Historical Society, U.S. National Park Service, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum and multiple individual contributors.
“This will be an exciting venue for citizens and visitors of Salem,” Goss said. “Salem's history is rich and contributes greatly to the diverse and fascinating story of our country.”