The Salem Museum Preliminary Opening April 21

After almost two years of rigorous research and design, the long-anticipated Salem Museum will welcome the public to a Preliminary Opening featuring eight of the eventual thirty themed display panels, a presentation and tour by the Museum Planning Team, and a reception.

The Preliminary Opening will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem, as part of the Old Town Hall Lecture Series. Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for students, and may be purchased at Tickets will also be available at the door.

“The Salem Museum will be an entry point for visitors — an overview of Salem history, if you will” says K. David Goss, Museum Project Director and Assistant Professor of History at Gordon College. “Our goal is to heighten people’s awareness of the richness and diversity of Salem’s history through this relatively simple visitor center, and then send them on their way to real sites.” From the museum, visitors will have ready access to Pioneer Village and the play Cry Innocent, both presented by Gordon College’s Institute for Public History.

The Salem Museum will fill the large, colonnade gallery on the first floor of Salem’s historic Old Town Hall. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through over 400 years of Salem history, starting with Native American settlement, through European settlement in 1626, to the present day. Displays include vibrantly colored text-and-image panels, objects, models, and reproductions.

Goss, who is the Director of Gordon College’s Institute for Public History, was joined on the Museum Planning team by Mary-Ellen Smiley, the museum’s curator, and Ken Harris and Debra Glabeau of Great Island Design, the museum’s designers. All four will describe their work at the Preliminary Opening, and guide visitors through the museum afterward.

The display panels visitors can expect to see at the Preliminary Opening on April 21 include:

• Founding of Salem 1626
(Sponsored by Dick and Diane Pabich, The Salem Inn)

• Revolutionary War
(Sponsored by the Wrightson Family)

• China Trade
(Sponsored by Eaton Vance)

• The Pepper Trade
(Sponsored by Jeffrey P. Beale)

• The Civil War
(Sponsored by Advanced Imaging)

• Nathaniel Hawthorne
(Sponsored by Brunonia Barry)

• Frank Poor and Sylvania
(Sponsored by the Hawthorne Hotel)

• The Great Fire
(Sponsored by the Salem Evening News)

The remaining twenty-two panels will be unveiled when the completed museum opens on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Sponsorships are still available. The Grand Opening will coincide with the 1630 arrival of Governor John Winthrop and the Arbella fleet to Salem, and with the seasonal opening of Pioneer Village. Details to be announced.

“The Salem Museum is a major achievement for us, and for all of the people and organizations on the North Shore who have helped us,” says Clifford Hersey, Gordon College’s Dean of Global Education. “We all feel that we are giving a gift to thousands of citizens and thousands of visitors, and we hope they will join us on April 21 to celebrate.”

“The physical museum is just the beginning,” David Goss points out. “All museum subject areas will be explored in depth on our website. There will also be a section for experts to share their knowledge, a ‘community forum’ where Salem residents and others can add information or share stories, and a Salem Schools section for students and teachers to post projects and ideas.”

“This will be a very family friendly museum,” says Ken Harris, artistic director. “We’ve included information about the lives of young people during the past four centuries, and provided fun, interactive activities.” The museum panels will also be available in Spanish translation.
Image: Old Town Hall Lectures

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