The Salem Witch Trials are a defining example of intolerance and injustice in American history. This extraordinary series of events between June 1692 and March 1693 led to the deaths of 25 innocent women, men and children who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. More than 300 years later, the personal tragedies and grievous wrongs that occurred still provoke us to reflect and reckon with the experiences of those involved. Learn the true story of this tragedy as told through the voices and with the possessions of those directly involved.
This ongoing installation tells this story through court documents and authentic historic objects presented as tangible fragments directly tied to people in Salem and nearby communities in the late 17th century. A handwritten petition, a carved loom, a walking stick — each illuminates an aspect of individuals who lived through Salem’s witch trials and serves as a reminder of the real people impacted by these harrowing events.
The Salem Witch Trials 1692 is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum. This exhibition is made possible by Carolyn and Peter S. Lynch and The Lynch Foundation. We thank James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes, Chip and Susan Robie, and Timothy T. Hilton as supporters of the Exhibition Innovation Fund. We also recognize the generosity of the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.
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TOP IMAGE Tompkins Harrison Matteson, Trial of George Jacobs, August 5, 1692, 1855. Oil on canvas. Gift of R. W. Ropes, 1859 (1246).