The Salem Witch Trials
For more than 300 years, the complex drama of the 1692 Salem witch trials and its themes of injustice and the frailties of human nature have captivated and fascinated the public imagination. The extraordinary crisis involved more than 400 people and led to the deaths of 25 innocents — men, women and children — between June 1692 and March 1693.
The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) holds one of the world’s most important collections of objects and architecture related to the Salem Witch Trials. From 1980 to 2023, PEM’s Phillips Library was the temporary repository of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court collection of Witch Trial documents. These legal records, which were returned to the Judicial Archives following the expansion and modernization of the Massachusetts State Archives facility, are available to researchers around the world on our website here thanks to a comprehensive digitization project undertaken by the museum. Through exhibitions, research, publishing and public programming, PEM is committed to telling the story of the Salem Witch Trials in ways that honor the victims and amplify the teachings of wrongful persecution that remain relevant to today.