40th Anniversary of the Witch Dungeon Museum

The Witch Dungeon Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019! The museum has been sharing its award-winning live reenactment and tours of the recreated dungeon since 1979. With reenactments based on historical transcripts from 1692, each visit to the museum offers a thrilling account of the Salem Witch Trials along with information on the dungeon itself.

While the Witch Dungeon Museum is located on Lynde Street, the actual dungeon in 1692 was located a couple of blocks away on Federal Street. Though no longer standing, information on the original site is available today through walking tours that visit the location and seasonal programming by the Essex National Heritage Commission.

The building that houses the Witch Dungeon Museum today was constructed as a chapel for East Church. (East Church is also well-known throughout Salem’s history as the church whose main building is now the Salem Witch Museum and for noteworthy pastor, William Bentley who recorded the day-to-day lives of Salem residents between 1784 and 1819.)

Following a fire in 1902 that led East Church to re-evaluate the need for a chapel in this location, ownership of the building was passed on to the Church of Christ Scientist. Under the Christian Science belief system made popular by Mary Baker Eddy in Boston, the Church of Christ held services in the building from 1908 until 1979 when it was purchased by the Witch Dungeon Museum.

Photo by Jared Charney

Tours of the Witch Dungeon Museum today include a walk-through of the recreated dungeon with life-size scenes showing the conditions the accused suffered in 1692. Along with these depictions, the Witch Dungeon Museum displays a wooden beam saved from retrieved from the original dungeon.

For the past 40 years, the Witch Dungeon Museum has been a hit with local school groups and visitors to Salem, as a unique and informative way to learn about the tragic events of 1692. In 2019 the museum is open daily April through November with performances and tours of the dungeon running 10:00 am-5:00 pm.

The Witch Dungeon Museum is in walking distance to Salem’s downtown attractions, accommodations, and parking, and it’s also along the Salem Trolley route. Get more of Salem’s history into your visit by taking the hour-long tour around town on the Salem Trolley and hopping on and off at the Witch Dungeon Museum, or any of the other 13 stops.

Plan your visit to the Witch Dungeon Museum and save $8 off your admission by getting a combination ticket that also includes the Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum. The Witch Dungeon Museum and Witch History Museums both open for the season on April 1, and the New England Pirate Museum opens in May. Find more information including tour schedules and resources for students at all three museums at witchdungeon.com.

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