Virtual Field Trips and Programming
Interested in virtual opportunities for a student or adult groups? We offer virtual programming for a wide range of ages! These engaging programs are given by a Salem Witch Museum educator and cover a variety of subjects related to the history of witchcraft and colonial America. Sessions consist of a 30-45-minute presentation allowing participants to delve into this fascinating history, followed by 15 minutes for open Q&A.
Available topics for virtual presentations are listed below. Please note the recommended age range beside each program title. For scheduling requests or more information, please contact [email protected].
Please note, we will not be offering virtual field trips from September 1, 2023- December 31, 2023.
The Salem Witch Trials Recommended for grades 6-12, higher education courses, or adult groups
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 worst fear—confirmation that witches had arrived in Essex County. Ultimately, the colonists experienced the most severe and devastating witch-hunt to ever take place in North America. During this program, participants will learn how and why a witch-hunt broke out in Salem in 1692, as well as why these witch trials were such a unique and impactful moment in early American history. Participants will see images of the sites around Essex County with connections to the Salem witch trials, including the land where the court house, jail, and meeting house once stood, as well as a selection of primary source documents and relevant artifacts.
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 1692. In this program, participants will learn to distinguish fact from fiction in Miller’s famous play. 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. This presentation will also discuss how and why Arthur Miller became inspired to write about the Salem witch trials and the lasting significance of this allegory in our world today.
Life in Colonial New England Recommended for grades 3-7
When we think of New England’s early colonial settlers, we most often envision stern, joyless men and women wearing black and white clothes with buckles on their hats and shoes. While these early settlers certainly lived very differently than we do today, this popular culture depiction is mostly myth. This program focuses on the reality of life in colonial New England. By discussing topics such as the clothing, family life, marriages, and diet of the early settlers, students will learn about what life was really like in the seventeenth century– from the settler’s religious beliefs to their favorite foods!
Witches: Evolving Perceptions Recommend for grades 9-12, higher education courses, or adult groups
In the modern-day, the term “witch” evokes many different definitions and images. Despite its dark historical origins, when confronted with this figure 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, think of this term as a sacred identity and view this word as a spiritual designation. In this program, participants will hear about the complex and fascinating evolution of the image of the witch, tracing this figure from the early modern period witch trials to the modern-day.
The Salem Witch Trials and Public Memory Recommend for grades 9-12 , higher education courses, or adult groups
Though the Salem witch trials were far from the only witchcraft trials to take place in colonial North America, and were relatively mild when compared with the devastating European trials of the early modern period, Salem is by far the most well-known in America today. In this program, participants will learn about the history of witch trials, placing Salem in context of the larger period of early modern witch-hunts. This program will discuss how and why the Salem trials immediately entered public discourse as a powerful social metaphor, one that is still used to denote fanatical, superstitious, or unjust behavior, and learn what caused this particular witchcraft trial to remained infamous in American public memory. Participants will learn about how the city of Salem has struggled with its witch-related history from 1692 to the present day, as well as how the evolution of the pop-culture witch has impacted Salem over the last half century.
The Salem Witch Trials and Seventeenth-Century Law Recommended for higher education courses or adult groups.
Though witchcraft suspicions were common in colonial New England, they rarely escalated to trial, and even less frequently resulted in conviction. The events that transpired in Essex County throughout 1692 were unlike anything previously experienced in the British colonies. These disastrous events were due in large part to the actions of an emergency court hastily created by a newly appointed Royal Governor. In the midst of rising panic and public pressure to act, this court, a Court of Oyer and Terminer, made a series of unusual procedural decisions. Departing from colonial precedent, this court accepted highly controversial forms of evidence. Giving into the panic of the time, the use of these unusual forms of evidence resulted in a very high conviction rate, and the public execution of 20 individuals, all innocent of the crime for which they were condemned. During this lecture, participants will hear about the legal mistakes made during the year 1692 and how they led to the largest and deadliest witchcraft trial in North American history.