We are thrilled to share that we had a most encouraging first season with Salem in 1630: Pioneer Village. The summer moved forward with a schedule of very successful tours which included a daily trip to the village generously provided by Salem Trolley. An engaging foundation tour was created and tested that shared Salem's very origins. From it's years as a bustling port teeming with fisherman, fur trappers and pirates to the establishment of the colony that greeted John Winthrop upon his arrival in 1630. A great deal of time and effort will be put towards understanding and honoring the Massachusett tribe that originally occupied this land.
We have carefully recorded the condition of each structure and prioritized the necessary repairs. We have tried to make heads or tails out of the clamor and profusion of herbs springing out of the garden beds. This involved, more often than not, eyeing them with great curiosity, almost complete befuddlement and a sound promise to expand our understanding of colonial botanicals while they are fresh, green and alive and not merely a woodcut in a 17th century book. By the end of the season many of these reached waist or shoulder height and have now been photographed and well on their way to being identified.
We have witnessed a charming October storytelling season with candlelight pathways leading visitors to darkened cottages where costumed storytellers shared chilling folklore from our past. A tradition we are happy to carry on and even now are beginning to create new stories for.
Gaggles of children and school groups have been hosted. Guides who have been a part of the village in years past came forward expressing a desire to remain an active part of Pioneer Village. We are very appreciative of their enthusiasm and talents and thrilled to welcome and keep them in the fold.
And now we find ourselves in the quiet of winter planning the next season. Hoping to explore a bit more of the potential we all see here. Making a list of individuals and institutions we hope will help us enhance this amazing place. Membership drives, events, fundraisers all designed to help people see how important saving this site is. Really casting a wide net on opportunities we will consider, bake sales, t shirts printed with the slogan " I helped save America's First Living History Museum and all I got was this naffing t-shirt." Or something equally as catchy utilizing 17th century slang for tacky.
Our largest bit of planning energy will be put towards...brace yourself...an exciting new festival for the fall titled Salem Spice Festival! How amazing is that!? We will focus on spices, herbs and teas in American history and in the modern period. Lectures, walks, demonstrations and other entertainment will be offered.
- Submitted by Elizabeth Peterson, Director, The Witch House and Pioneer Village