Salem’s witch trials are a definitive example of intolerance and injustice in American history. The extraordinary series of events in 1692–93 led to the deaths of 25 innocent women, men, and children who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. More than 300 years later, the personal tragedies and grievous wrongs that occurred still provoke us to reflect on and reckon with the experiences of those involved.
The court documents and historic objects presented here are material fragments directly tied to people in Salem and nearby communities in the late 17th century. A handwritten petition, a carved loom, a walking stick—each illuminates an aspect of individuals who lived through Salem’s witch trials and serves as a reminder of the real people impacted by these harrowing events.
At the time, many Salem area residents realized the judicial proceedings were flawed and the trials unjust. As early as the late 1690s, victims and their communities attempted to restore the innocence of those wrongly accused and convicted. While the trauma and loss can never be fully repaired, tangible steps over the centuries have made progress toward healing a deeply fractured community. The process continues today.
We invite you to engage with these compelling stories, consider how injustices may be healed, and find relevance between the past and present.