Virtual Field Trips
Current virtual classroom opportunities include an hour-long experience hosted by a Salem Witch Museum educator. Most of these sessions consist of a 45-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute Question and Answer segment. Additionally, we are thrilled to announce a new virtual experience co-hosted by the educational organization Histories/Hi-Stories.
Details of available virtual field trips are listed below. Cost is based on the desired program and number of students registered for the session. To book a virtual field trip, please email [email protected]. In this email, please include the number of students, desired date for the event, and select a topic from the list below.
The Salem Witch Trials Recommended for Grades 6-12
In the year 1692, the daughter and niece of Reverend Samuel Parris were plagued with a mysterious and alarming illness. Soon, inhabitants of Salem Village were faced with their very worst nightmare—confirmation that witches had arrived in Essex County. Over the span of just one year, the colonists experienced the most severe and devastating witch-hunt to ever take place in North America. During this program, we will discuss how and why a witch-hunt broke out in Salem, describe the events of that dark year, and consider why the Salem witch trials are such a unique moment in early American history. Participants will see images of the sites around Essex County that have direct connections to the Salem witch trials, including the land where the court house, jail, and meeting house stood, as well as some of the artifacts from our museum’s collection.
The Crucible Fact vs. Fiction Recommend for Grades 9-12
Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible is perhaps the most famous literary portrayal of the Salem witch trials to date. Most contemporary audiences have heard of, read, or seen the film adaptation of this renowned play. While this is a beautifully composed and thought-provoking literary classic, this play is a work of fiction and is largely an inaccurate portrayal of what took place in Salem in the year 1692. In this program, we will dive into the historical inaccuracies presented by The Crucible, separating fact from fiction. By comparing the real story of the Salem witch trials with Miller’s account, students will be asked to consider how history can be reinterpreted and reimagined when it is translated into a creative medium. Additionally, by considering the sociopolitical environment of this period, this presentation will examine how and why Arthur Miller became inspired to write about these events. Participants will be asked to consider the formula for a witch-hunt “fear + a trigger = a scapegoat.” This formula is included in our current exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, and represents an integral part of our institutional mission to bring attention to the root cause of witch-hunts from 1692 to the present day. An interactive component of this exhibit is available through our website, and asks contemporary audiences from around the world to apply this formula to other examples, both from history and the modern-day. If desired, students will be given the option to submit their own examples, which will be added to the virtual exhibit on our website https://salemwitchmuseum.com/witch-hunt.
The Salem Witch Trials and Public Memory Recommend for Grades 9-12 and Higher Education Courses
Though the Salem witch trials were relatively mild when compared with the devastating witch trials that ravaged Europe during the early modern era, Salem has become one of the most infamous witch-hunts in Western European history. Today, Salem, Massachusetts has become a complex and unique example of public memory. In this program, we will discuss the history of witch trials, placing Salem in context of three hundred years of European trials. We will consider how and why Salem has become a powerful social metaphor, one that is still used to this day to denote fanatical, superstitious or unjust behavior. We will also consider how the city of Salem has struggled with its witch-related history, and has gradually changed over time, reflecting the drastically different and ever evolving popular conception the witch.
Witches: Evolving Perceptions Recommend for Grades 9-12 and Higher Education Courses
In the modern-day, the term “witch” encompasses an enormously diverse array of definitions and images. Despite its dark historical origins, when confronted with this word today, most envision a cartoonish green-skinned woman flying astride a broomstick or a beautiful, supernatural pop-culture heroine. Others still, such as those who practice Neopagan religions, may think of this as a sacred term and view this word as a spiritual designation. In this program, participants will hear about into the complex and fascinating evolution of the image of the witch, tracing this story from the early modern period witch trials to the modern-day.
Experiencing Salem: The Witch Trials through Creative Drama Recommended for Grades 6-12
Collaboration with Outside Education Organization Histories/Hi-Stories
This workshop is designed to engage both the mind and the body and allows students to get on their feet and step into history! Students explore the society of Salem in 1692 through active, thought-provoking theater-based learning. This interdisciplinary experience brings together history and theater and allows students to take on multiple perspectives from the events of the witch trials, examining the motivations and emotions of historical figures, embodying and empathizing with these historical figures, and thinking critically about how history is told and presented. Students will be on their feet throughout the workshop as they use physicality, frozen pictures, movement, and dialogue to deepen their understanding of the witch trials in all their complexity and ambiguity. No theater experience is necessary, as this workshop focuses on the process of drama in learning, not on performance. Instructor will interface with class through Zoom, whether your group is together in the classroom or learning remotely.