Historic America

Witch History Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

I completely overlooked the Witch History Museum on my first trip to Salem, Massachusetts. Located at 197-201 Essex Street on the pedestrian mall, this is not the same as the Salem Witch Museum, located on Washington Square. Like a half dozen other museums in Salem, this also features dioramas/wax figures, though of a slightly higher quality.

An actress in period costume gives a short introduction to the Salem Witch Trials before taking you down into the museum. I came in early spring, just before the tourist season started, so I was the only one in the audience that day. My host was gracious enough to show me around anyway.

The wax figures portray a wide variety of scenes, both real and alleged, from the infamous events of 1692. There are fifteen life-sized scenes. The tour guide stops at each one to explain the event it depicts. I was impressed with the effort they put into sharing some little-known facts about the people who participated in the trials.

For instance, I learned about Philip English, a prominent merchant in Salem who (along with his wife) was accused but fled to New York. Prominent Massachusetts residents aided his escape. When he returned after the trials, he found his property had been seized by the sheriff.

The Witch History Museum has the best and most diverse dioramas in Salem, when it comes to the Salem Witch Trials. You can buy a ticket bundling this museum, the New England Pirate Museum, and the Witch Dungeon Museum for $22 (save $8 on all three). The Witch History Museum is $10 for adults, $8 for children 13 and under, and $9 for seniors. It’s open daily from 10:00am to 5pm, April through November.

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