It is highly recommended that you call ahead if you are interested in going to the Witch Museum during their busy season (October mostly). Even on the weekday that my parents and I went, we had to find other things to do when we waited for our reserved time because of the school groups that were going through that day. The curators of this museum did a very good job of making sure families did not get mixed in with the school group tours though.
The Salem Witch Museum is basically a two part exhibit. The first part tells the story of the first instances of "Bewitching" in Salem up to the end of the infamous trials. The story is told in a large theater with wax figures around the stage surrounding the audience being illuminated when it was their scene. Maybe not the most interesting way to present this information, but not terribly scary either so safe for young children.
The second part of the exhibit discussed (via tour guide and more wax figures - though this time in a traditional museum setting and not a theater) modern perceptions of witches and witchcraft in the United States. The final thing we were asked to think about on our way out were witch hunts as they apply to our modern lives (i.e. McCarthy and his Black List, etc). Very interesting spin.
The Witch Museum is small and there might be better places to get the Salem Witch experience - but it is well kept, well guided, and safe for children. They also have a fun gift shop for little Witch souvenirs for friends and family (like almost every gift shop in Salem has).
The Witch Museum is conveniently located next to the Town Green in Salem; caddy cornered with the famous statue of the area's first settler. Parking is relatively easy on the square in metered spots during the day.
Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
by NW Promises
September 20, 2009
August 8, 2009
From journal On the Road Around New England
Middle River, Maryland
August 4, 2009
July 13, 2008
A Bewitching Time in Massachusetts
November 25, 2006
From journal Witch Hunting in Salem Mass
September 23, 2004
The museum is located in an old gothic revival church right on Salem Common. It's a very stately looking building and can't be missed.
You enter and pay the fee, $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for kids. The presentations run every half from 10am until 5pm daily, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The day we entered the museum was very full, and the small waiting area to enter the presentation room was packed.
The museum is made up of 13 staged sets that tell the story of the terrible events of 1692 in Salem. There are no seats and you can wander from set to set as the lights come on and the voices tell the story. It was pretty well done, and it does cover the story in true detail. The sets are a little grisly, especially the one where one accused witch is pressed to death. It could scare small kids, but our kids seemed to love it.
After the presentation, you are invited to a small museum in the back of the building about witchcraft. The museum tries to dispel the stereotypes of witches and tells about the Wiccan religion and its love of nature. The museum is very small, but did a good job explaining some of the myths about witches. The displays were pretty good and this part of the museum is self guided. You press buttons and the voice-over comes on and tells you about the display you are viewing.
Of course, every good museum has to have a gift shop, and the Salem Witch Museum is no exception. They have a large gift shop that sells wands, pointy hats and cauldrons (so much for dispelling stereotypes). They also have a number of books on witchcraft and the Salem Witch Trials.
My opinion is, skip the other amateur museums and only do this one. If you spend an hour here, you will come away with all the knowledge you will need on the gruesome events of 1692 in Salem. To check out more on the museum, go to their website at Salem Witch Museum.
From journal Salem - More than just witches.
, New Mexico
September 11, 2000
From journal Curiously Seeking Susannah