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Salem Maritime National Historic Site announces the installation of Dominican Faceless Dolls, a bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibit on display May 7 – June 30, Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am – 4pm at the Salem Armory Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street in Salem. Co-created with North Shore Community Development Coalition (North Shore CDC), the exhibit celebrates Salem’s global connections and Caribbean culture with artwork and stories by residents of the Point neighborhood (also known as El Punto).
Dominican Faceless Dolls inspiration stems from a popular handicraft of the Dominican Republic, Muñecas Limé. These small, ceramic figures that lack faces symbolize Dominican women, culture and diversity. “Dominican Faceless Dolls fosters a connection with new and existing audiences to find cultural relevancy at the site specifically with Essex County’s Latinx community,” said Program Manager of Visitor Experience and Community Engagement, Susan Russo.
“We are grateful for this partnership with Salem Maritime,” said North Shore CDC Chief Executive Officer, Mickey Northcutt. “The exhibit honors the beautiful cultural significance of the Dominican faceless dolls and people of the Dominican community in Salem.”
“This exhibition is special because it offers people from all walks of life, who are either familiar with these dolls or learning about them for the first time, the opportunity to share their own stories through creative expression”, said Yinette Guzman, Design & Placemaking Project Manager at North Shore CDC. “These new works of art continue the tradition of Muñecas Limé and represent the identity and cultural heritage of each artist.”
The North Shore CDC selected nineteen paper dolls and three artist stories for Dominican Faceless Dolls. With bios, poems, and personalized, paper dolls, the exhibit shares Salem stories of migration, heritage, and intersecting identities. The co-creators of the exhibit invite visitors to share their own stories on interactive panels with questions centered on discovery of self and community.
The National Park Service extends special thanks to the Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP). Dominican Faceless Dolls follows a 2021 exhibit proposal and a series of online resources developed by LHIP interns Tahmoor Chadury and Karla Bonilla. Visitors are invited to further explore and make their own faceless, paper doll by visiting www.nps.gov/articles/000/faceless-dolls.htm.