More About Salem Witch Trials Memorial

In the center is a simple patch of grass and locust trees, which are thought to be the type of tree that may have been used for the hangings.  A dirt path runs beside the benches for visitors to walk and reflect.


Silently watching from just over the wall are the gravestones in the adjacent Old Burying Point Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Salem and one of the oldest in the United States. Among the interred are witch trials magistrates John Hathorne and Bartholomew Gedney.


The Salem Witch Trials Tercentenary Committee was established by the Mayor of the City of Salem on April 22, 1986, with a principle intention of creating a permanent memorial to the victims of the witch trials.


A public design competition, juried by five noted professionals, resulted in 246 entrants. The winning entry, designed by Maggie Smith and James Cutler of Bainbridge Island, Washington, was presented to the press and public by renowned playwright Arthur Miller on November 14, 1991. Among the notable works by Miller is The Crucible, which used the Salem Witch Trials as an allegory for the McCarthyism of the late 1940s and early 1950s.


The Salem Witch Trials Memorial was dedicated on August 5, 1992 by Nobel Laureate, Holocaust survivor, and author Elie Wiesel, who noted, “If I can’t stop all of the hate all over the world in all of the people, I can stop it in one place within me,” adding, “We still have our Salems.”


This quiet and peaceful memorial, located in the very center of Salem, provides a place for people to pay their respects, to reflect on tolerance and understanding, and to remember the inspiring stories of personal courage revealed in 1692.


Interested in learning more about the Salem Witch Trials Memorial?


In October of 2022, the Salem Witch Museum Education Department wrote “The Salem Witch Trials Memorial: Finding Humanity in Tragedy” for the Smithsonian Folklife Magazine:


In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the creation of the memorial, our museum hosted the virtual lecture “Memorializing the Salem Witch Trials”:


24 Liberty Street, next to the Old Burying Point Cemetery

"It is important that people think about real human suffering caused by witchcraft hysteria and the lessons that are to be learned from that dark period in the history of this city and this country" -Memorial designers James Cutler and Maggie Smith