Woman looking on the museum exhibit

May 5th is National Museum Lovers Day! 

May 1, 2024

People love museums for all sorts of reasons. Some love learning about our past, while others enjoy seeing artifacts from years gone by. Still, others gain inspiration by learning about the humanity of other peoples from around the globe, be it through their culture, art, history, or artifacts. Then some people simply appreciate the often quiet solitude and inner growth that can come with seeing something or learning about something for the first time. 

For museum lovers around the country, May 5th is a day to celebrate this fondness of museum venues from those that help us learn about what it was like to be a pirate to learning about the art and culture of lands we probably will never get a chance to visit in person. 

Let’s explore five museums and tours you will not want to miss this spring as you visit Salem, Massachusetts. 

Museum visitors

The Peabody Essex Museum

Located on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts, The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is a world-class museum established in 1799. As such it is known as one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the United States. 

The PEM holds collections of Asian, Maritime and American Art. In fact, it is home to more than 850,000 works of art for visitors to enjoy. The museum is not just a single building as most consider it to be, but rather a complex of over 20 buildings, gardens, libraries, and historical homes. Each area of the PEM offers a unique experience including a children’s area of exploration and something new around every corner. 

Open Thursday through Monday 10 am – 5 pm offers special events and a full calendar of activities to keep you coming back throughout the year. Buy tickets online or at the door to explore art and history from all corners of the world. 

House of Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables 

The House of Seven Gables is a 1668 Salem, Massachusetts home known not just for its architectural features of seven gables but is also famous for American author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel The House of the Seven Gables

This much beloved historic home offers a peek into Salem’s maritime past, the architectural uniqueness of New England homes, and a literary lover’s dream come true tour. 

View the event calendar, buy tickets and learn more about this National Historic Landmark on their site. Tours are available for the home and grounds. The House of Seven Gables is open daily to the public from 10 am – 4 pm. 

The Salem Witch House 

A trip to Salem would not be complete without learning more about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. To explore this scary time in American history, a visit to the Salem Witch House is in order. 

The Witch House was once the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, heir to one of the largest Puritan fortunes in New  England and is one of the few structures you can visit in Salem with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials. During your self-guided tour, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the circumstances of the Trials, find out what environment led to the hysteria and more about our early American colonial history. 

Tours are permitted Thursday-Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm. To find out more and plan your trip visit their site

The Friendship 

If American maritime history interests you, a trip to Salem Harbor to see the 171-foot replica of the Friendship should be on your list of places to visit.  

This two-decked, three-masted, square-rigged, 342-ton vessel was built from 1796-1797 in the Stage Point yard of Salem shipbuilder Enos Briggs across the South River. The replica tall ship was built in 1986 in the Scarano Shipyard in Albany, New York.  

The Friendship has been under construction and refurbishment in recent months but promotes seasonal openings here. While visiting the replica of the Friendship, consider exploring all the Salem Maritime National Historic sites including the grounds, trails, gardens, and wharfs. 

Real Pirates Entrance

Real Pirates of Salem 

While we may be biased, one museum you won’t want to miss on your Salem, Massachusetts tour is the Real Pirates Museum. Here we offer a glimpse into what it was really like to live as a pirate on the high seas as well as the steps that scientists are taking now to uncover lost ships and their artifacts in waters off the New England coast. 

Take a tour and learn more about the wreck of the Pirate Ship Whydah and so much more. Schedule your tour this season. 

Salem is filled with a robust history including colonial history, maritime antiquity and a connection to the uniqueness of the Witch City as it is today.