Salem Wax Museum
As a city perhaps best known for its 1692 witch trials, Salem has a dark history that dates back centuries. Visitors can unpack stories of this colonial era at the Salem Wax Museum. Encounter wax figures from Salem's past in this quaint museum, and check out a small exhibit on the history of Salem, its witch hunt, and maritime industry.
Salem was founded in 1626, and the hysteria leading to its witch trials remains an important detail in American history. To learn about this pivotal moment, you can buy same-day tickets to the Salem Wax Museum (and Salem Witch Village), or avoid the ticket lines by prebooking entry online. Inside, find wax figures of Nathanial Hawthorne and accused witches, and interactive exhibits on knot-tying and grave rubbings.
Pair a visit to the wax museum with a guided walking tour, or an independent excursion to the nearby Salem Witch Trials Memorial and Burying Point cemetery. If you want to add-on a cultural excursion, visit the Peabody Essex Museum—located across the street—or check out the murals at Punto Urban Art Museum.
Things to know before you go
- Visit the gift shop to find maritime-themed keepsakes, wearables, and Wiccan supplies.
- This small museum takes less than an hour to explore.
- For a keepsake, you can snap a selfie in the life-size prison cell.
How to get there
You can find the Salem Wax Museum on Derby Street next to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. It's easiest to walk to this centrally located attraction. If you're visiting from Boston, you can book a full-day tour to avoid the hassle of driving, or take the Salem Ferry. The ride from Boston's Long Wharf takes a little less than an hour.
When to get there
The Salem Wax Museum is open all year round, and hours vary seasonally. For a better deal on admission, winter visitors can buy a discounted Hysteria Pass in January and February. The best time to visit is around Halloween. With its history of witchery, this town fully embraces All Hallows' Eve. During October, the Salem Wax Museum hosts the haunted Frankenstein’s Castle.
Art and Architecture at the Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum offers a cultural experience that combines art and architecture, and the museum's historic homes are not to be missed. Beyond the curiosities in its galleries—many collected by the East India Marine Society in the 19th century—you can visit the museum's heritage homes. Highlights include the Ropes Mansion, Peirce-Nichols House, and the Gardner-Pingree House, a National Historic Landmark.
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