HOT TOPIC: Salem, Massachusetts
Volume 2, Issue 8 - October 23, 2005

"During my tenure as tech director for Salem, Massachusetts Public Schools, it was my pleasure to get to know the many facets of the Salem community. Being a history buff, I loved being immersed in the many fascinating stories which comprise this four-hundred year old community.

There is Salem’s maritime tradition, its affiliation with Nathaniel Hawthorne and his house of the seven gables, and (of course) the legendary Salem witch trials. While much of the legend is not based in fact, today’s sociologists and historians have put the pieces together to find a human explanation to the trials: competing political interests revolving around one controversial community minister. In the end, the area of Salem in question broke off to form its own community of Danvers. It is here that most of the trials and executions took place. Still, Salem continues to wear the stigma of the proverbial “witch hunt.” It’s a stigma they have been trying to live down to this day.

Still, when you go to Salem there some commercial ventures attempting to cash in on its darker reputation: witch museums, pirate museums, ghost walking tours, and the like. I prefer to think of Salem as I saw it during my time there; a beautiful coastal village with sailboats catching the wind and the sun in her harbor, full of history and culture of all sorts from its Victorian spires to the onion domes of its Russian orthodox church. This week take a virtual tour of Salem with me through the Digital Dozen…..and invite your students!"


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