“Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” at the Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum’s latest exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, is an exploration into over 300 pairs of shoes through their varied histories, cultural significance, and even the personal experiences of those who collect or wear them. The exhibition, which is making its U.S. debut at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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Salvatore Ferragamo, Rainbow sandal, 1938 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Image courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, PEM’s James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Deputy Director, has enjoyed sharing her own passions for shoes while working as the coordinating curator for the exhibition. Hartigan’s personal stories which are displayed throughout the exhibit, begin with the moment when she first acknowledged the importance of shoes in her life, during a forest fire that threatened her childhood home: “My mother told my brother and me to grab two things to take in the car. What did I choose? My pink teddy bear and brand new pair of black patent leather Mary Janes.”

The exhibit is divided into different themes: Transformation, Status, Seduction, Creation, and Obsession. Each section features shoes that fit the theme, from a variety of time periods and owners, like David Beckham, Elton John, and Naomi Campbell. In addition many of the shoes were designed by such well-known names in the fashion industry such as Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo, and some of the shoes were even crafted locally in the towns of Lynn and Haverhill. Other local connections in the exhibit are the 110 pairs shoes added to the display from the PEM’s fashion collection, and the shoes in the Obsession gallery that belong to local collectors, Jimmy Raye, and Lillian Montalto Bohlen.

The opening day festival for Shoes: Pleasure and Pain takes place on Saturday, November 19th, and will feature a variety of shoe-themed events that are included with museum admission. Among the events are a sneaker museum pop-up exhibition, showcasing the contemporary culture surrounding sneakers, and a shoemaking demonstration where guests can see how shoes are made with artist Malika Green. The opening day festival is made possible by the Lowell Foundation, and the full schedule of events may be found on the PEM’s website.

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Sebastian Errazuriz, “The Golddigger,” “The Heartbreaker,” and “The Boss,” from the “12 Shoes for 12 Lovers” collection, 2013, 3D-printed acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene polymer, resin, and acrylic. Museum purchase, 2015, Peabody Essex Museum. © 2016 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Kathy Tarantola.

During the first two weeks of the exhibition, PEM is partnering with Dress for Success Boston through a shoe drive held at the museum to assist disadvantaged women with dressing professionally while attending job interviews. The organization allows women to work with volunteer stylists in selection the best outfits for interviews at no cost to them. Dress for Success asks that all donated shoes be appropriate for job interviews, with solid colors preferred and no open-toe, slingback, mule, or stiletto platform shoes may be accepted. Guests looking to donate shoes may bring them to the entrance of the museum where a volunteer will assist them.

The recent initiative in expanding the museum’s fashion collection is evident through Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. With an exhibit design that contrasts from the typical retail environment, guests are able to take away a greater knowledge and understanding about shoes, and fashion in general, serve not only as art but as creative forms of personal expression. Hartigan summarizes the theme of the exhibit in stating, “Shoes are about the personal creativity of the designer and the person who wears that shoe. It’s a partnership between two people who likely never meet. You can make something wonderful, but if someone doesn’t respond to it, there is something incomplete about the act. Creation is about communication.”

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain is on view from November 19, 2016 – March 12, 2017, and is included in museum admission. For complete information on the opening day festival and the Dress for Success donation program, please visit PEM.org.

The Salem City Seal

The Salem City Seal’s design is based on a very important aspect of Salem history, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

With a merchant dressed in colorful robes standing next to palm trees on an island, and a ship in the background under full sail, the seal is actually representative of Salem’s spice trade history. The merchant featured on the seal is not meant to portray a Salem merchant, but rather a local Sumatran, where the spice trade with Salem was first established. Below the imagery are the words “Divitis Indiae usque sinum,” which translates to “To the farthest port of the rich east.” Above sits a dove holding an olive branch, symbolizing Salem’s designation as the “City of Peace.” The seal also features two specific years: 1626 when the town of Salem was incorporated, and 1836 when the city was incorporated.

Salem’s spice trade began when Captain Jonathan Carnes became the first person to return to the United States with a bulk of cargo pepper from Sumatra. In 1793, Carnes learned that wild pepper may be available along the coast of Sumatra. In order to ensure that he would be the first to reach the spice, he kept this knowledge secret from most people in Salem with the exception of his uncle, Salem merchant Jonathan Peele, who helped him acquire a schooner quickly and would later help with selling the spices.

salemma_city-seal-proclamationCarnes returned from Sumatra with the pepper aboard his Schooner Rajah in 1797, following a series of unsuccessful attempts and shipwrecks in the years prior. The pepper was not only important to the people of Salem for the same reasons we use pepper today, but it was also highly sought after for its preservative qualities. Prior to modern preservatives, spices like pepper were especially helpful as meat preservative. It is estimated that the cargo of pepper that came to Salem aboard the Rajah was valued at about $125,000 (in 1797), meaning in today’s value the shipment would be worth about $1.5 million.

For approximately the next 50 years, the majority of the pepper used in many countries came through the port of Salem. By the early 19th century, Salem’s trade had helped the city become the wealthiest per capita in the United States. Though Salem’s trade with China and East Indian nations eventually came to include more than just pepper, with items like tea, silk, and porcelain, the Sumatran pepper voyages served as some of Salem’s first and most important ventures into international trade relations.

The seal was commissioned by the city to be designed by George Peabody in 1839. Peabody was a descendent of some of Salem’s greatest pepper merchants, and was himself a ship owner. Rather than depicting a scene of Salem, Peabody thought it fitting to draw a figure representative of a Sumatran merchant as a reference to where the pepper trade first began.

Since 1839, the seal has been used on official city documents and records. In addition, using the seal on anything other than documents pertaining to official City of Salem business is a violation of State law and Local Ordinances.  A solid bronze plaque of the seal is currently on display in the reception area by the mayor’s office at City Hall, and the City hopes to eventually display it on the exterior of the new City Hall Annex Building at 90 Washington Street.

Salem, MA Military History

“Salem has a rich military history that stretches all the way back to the Seventeenth Century, and continues on today. Salem’s designation in 2013 as the birthplace of the National Guard, and Salem’s privateer connections get most of the military heritage attention, but there is much more to this story.

Salem Common was “Ye Olde Training Field” when Captain John Endicott organized the first training day to drill settlers in 1630. In 1637 the first militia muster was organized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Court.

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Cadet Band, ca: 1910, led by Jean Missud.

Today we know Winter Island for its beach, boat ramp, and beautiful lighthouse. Originally named for King William, the original fort dates back to 1643-1667. It was renamed for Salem’s Colonel Timothy Pickering in 1799, and became a Coast Guard Air Station in 1935.

Six weeks prior to the “shot heard around the world on Lexington Green,” British Colonel Alexander Leslie retreated from a gathering of angry citizens on Salem’s North Bridge. Leslie and the 64th regiment had been sent by the British governor general of Massachusetts, Thomas Gage, to seize Colonial cannons and gunpowder in Salem. Leslie’s Retreat is considered by many to have been the first armed resistance of the American Revolution.

Salem Privateers made a name for themselves during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Privateers were privately owned vessels that had government permission to capture enemy vessels during wartime, and during the Revolutionary War alone Salem sent out 158 privateers that captured 444 prizes (enemy ships), more than half the number taken by all the Colonies during the war. Today you can sail aboard a replica Salem Privateer, Schooner FAME, out of Pickering Wharf.

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Salem Coast Guard matchbook (front).

Include the Pickering House on Broad Street in your visit to       Salem, and you will be exploring the birthplace of Colonel Timothy Pickering, who was an officer in the Continental Army and   Quartermaster during the Revolutionary War. Pickering’s career went on to include Adjutant General of the Army, Secretary of State, and   Secretary of War. Pickering, who was known for his unwavering integrity, lack of prejudice, devotion to justice, and commitment to   service, is buried in the Broad Street Cemetery.

Glover’s Regiment claims Marblehead as its home, but Colonel John Glover was born on St. Peter’s Street in Salem. A good friend of General George Washington’s, Glover’s Regiment ferried Washington across the Delaware River, and Glover’s Schooner HANNAH was the first commissioned ship in the US Navy.

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Salem Coast Guard matchbook (back).

Salem mathematician and navigator Nathaniel Bowditch wrote “The New American Practical Navigator.” Known as “The Bowditch,” a copy of this book was been onboard Naval and Coast Guard vessels since the War of 1812.

Residents and visitors still remember when two US Naval Submarines were docked at Derby Wharf, used as training vessels during World War II.

Salem’s military connections continue today, most notably in newly-elected Congressman Seth Moulton, who served in the Marine Corps in the Iraq War.

Armory Park, adjacent to the Salem Regional Visitor Center, pays tribute to more than 365 years of military heritage in Essex County, and includes a timeline tracing the history of the citizen soldier and the Second Corps of Cadets.

Material for this feature was provided by Bonnie Hurd Smith, Nelson Dionne, Schooner FAME, and SethMoulton.com.

Downrig or Die!

Celebrate the “last dying gasp of the sailing season,” with Downrig or Die!, an annual program presented by the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in partnership with Schooner Fame and Essex Heritage.

salemma_schooner-fameOn November 5, 2016, take to the water on a discounted sail aboard a traditional schooner. Both the Schooner Fame and the Schooner Ardelle are offering discounted public sails as part of the Downrig or Die! Each sail departs from Pickering Wharf or Central Wharf and lasts for 90 minutes. The Schooner Fame will be setting sail at 1:00 pm, and the Schooner Ardelle at 2:00 pm. Discounted rates for the sails are $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors, military, and children ages between the ages of 2 and 12. Visit Schooner Fame’s website to purchase tickets in advance, and say farewell to the season from an authentic replica schooner!

Following the sails, visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn about Salem’s maritime history and maritime archaeology. During Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! Maritime Archaeologist, Calvin Mires, and Park Ranger, Tom Landers will share their knowledge of Salem’s maritime history along with marine archaeology through a family-friendly program. Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! will be taking place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Derby Wharf.

Salem, MA, Salem Maritime National Historic SiteFrom 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, visit St. Joseph’s Hall for a series of educational talks about the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. During these sessions, receive updates on the FriendShip from Captain Jeremy Bumagin and First Mate/Rigger John Newman of the National Park Service. Additionally, Annie Harris, Executive Director of Essex Heritage will present information on the Bakers Island Light Station. After the Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! program, Calvin Hires will be on hand to conclude the speaker series with a discussion of maritime archaeology.

In the evening, visit Victoria Station for a sail away party of sorts featuring raffles, local rum, appetizers, live music and more! The party lasts from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and is sure to be filled with good times and “schooner wisdom,” as the 2016 sailing season comes to a close.

No Car, No Problem: Getting Around Salem, MA

Salem Ferry, Salem, MA, Kate Fox

No car, no problem, we’ve got you covered! Coming from North Station in Boston, the MBTA Commuter Rail will take you right in the heart of Downtown Salem. Take the train to also visit other great North of Boston destinations like Rockport on the line. Enjoy a ride on the water from Boston’s Long Wharf to Salem with the Salem Ferry. Salem is a walkable city, but for those who enjoy bike riding, Salem Spins offers a hub downtown by the Hawthorne Hotel where you can rent a bike for free!

Salem Ferry, Salem, MA, Kate Fox

MBTA Commuter Rail
Coming from Boston, Salem is a short ride away from North Station via the Commuter Rail. Additionally, the Commuter Rail connects Salem to excellent cities north of Boston, like Rockport and Gloucester. Fares and schedules vary according to the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority), and the most up to date schedules may be found on the MBTA website, MBTA.com/Schedules. Once in Salem, the Commuter Rail Station is located right downtown, within walking distance to many shops, restaurants, accommodations, and attractions.

Salem Ferry
Another way to reach Salem from Boston is to hop aboard the Salem Ferry. In just under an hour, the ferry can take passengers between Salem and Boston, while offering scenic views of both cities. The ferry, Nathaniel Bowditch is equipped with enclosed and open air seating, tables, and restrooms, making the trip a quick and comfortable one. The ferry departs from Long Wharf in Boston, and docks in Salem at Blaney Street, both of which are within walking distance to many local attractions. The ferry runs seasonally and rates very so be sure to check out the Salem Ferry website, BostonHarborCruises.com/SalemFerry before planning a trip.

Walking Distances
Once in Salem, you’ll be pleased to find that most everything you’d want to do is within walking distance. Many Salem attractions are located within about a 20 minute walking distance from each other at the farthest points. A map of downtown Salem may be viewed at Salem.org/Plan/Map and may also be found in the Salem Visitor Guide.

Salem, MA Essex Street

Salem Spins
Another great way to see Salem is with Salem Spins, a free bike-sharing program provided by the City of Salem in partnership with Salem State University. To access a bike rental, visit the front desk of the Hawthorne Hotel or the Salem State Campus Police Station.

Driving to Salem?
If you are planning on driving into Salem, we recommend leaving the car parked for most of your visit. As such a walkable city, it will be easier to leave the car parked and walk or take the Salem Trolley to your destinations throughout your trip. For more information on parking and directions into Salem by car, please visit: Salem.org/Plan/Parking.

Lighthouses in Salem, MA

With Haunted Happenings right around the corner, it might be difficult to think of Salem for anything besides our favorite Halloween celebration. Even with the summer months behind us, Salem can be a great place to see lighthouses, which have served the town since the 17th century in helping ships safely access the harbor. The weather might be cooling down, but there is still time to see some of these amazing sites:

Derby Light, Salem, MA, Brittany DiCologero

Derby Wharf Light Station
The Derby Wharf Light Station, located at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, is rather unique with its square shape and short stature. This lighthouse measures only 12 x 12 feet, and the top of the cupola reaches about 20 feet off the ground. This station was built in 1871 to assist merchant ships entering Salem Harbor. Where most lighthouses traditionally have live-in caretakers, the Derby Wharf Light Station’s caretakers were able to live wherever they pleased in Salem due to its close proximity and easy access from the town. Astonishingly, there have only been six caretakers throughout the entire history of the station!

The National Park Service gained ownership of the lighthouse in 1977, and began a restoration project on the site that would not be completed until 1989. During the refurbishment, the lighthouse was painted white (a change from its original red coloring) and a solar powered light which flashes every 6 seconds was installed. While the interior of the station is not open to the public, the exterior is fully accessible and is a beautiful walk on a nice day right down Derby Wharf.

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Bakers Island Light
The Bakers Island Station, which is Massachusetts’ largest residential island north of Boston, dates back to Salem’s early days. Bakers Island itself became a part of Salem in 1660, and about 10 years later the entire island became home to tenant John Turner who you may be familiar with as the builder of The House of the Seven Gables. The island is also said to have been named for a man who was struck and killed by a falling tree, who also went by the name of “Baker.” If that bit of history isn’t gruesome enough, there was also a series of shipwrecks that took place nearby during the late 18th century, which suggests that the lighthouse was not as effective at the time as residents would have hoped.

The light station was established in 1791, with the current lighthouse we see today being built in 1820. In contrast from the Derby Wharf Light Station, Bakers Island does have a resident caretaker, who is typically the only person on the island during the winter months. While not open to the public, the Essex National Heritage Area runs boat trips to the island during the summer months. Without access to the island, this lighthouse is best seen from boat, about 3 miles East of Salem Harbor.

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Winter Island Light (Fort Pickering Lighthouse)
Winter Island Light, or the Fort Pickering Lighthouse was established in 1871 as part of the joint effort with the Derby Wharf Light Station and Hospital Point Light Station in Beverly to safely direct ships into Salem harbor regardless of the times of day they were coming in. The lighthouse is adjacent to the Fort Pickering area, which was built as a defense fort in the mid-16th century, and had been used for this purpose until the Civil War. Now primarily used as a campsite and recreational area, guests are welcome to visit Winter Island Light, which is accessible at 50 Winter Island Road.

Hospital Point Lighthouse, Beverly
Hospital Point Lighthouse, named for a smallpox hospital once located on the site, was established in 1872 as the last lighthouse fulfilling the need for ships to have a clear sense of direction when coming into Salem Harbor. One of the most unique aspects of Hospital Point is that this lighthouse is one of only 5 total in Massachusetts that still uses its original Fresnel lens. Though the lighthouse itself is closed to the public, the best views may be seen from boat, the Salem Willows, or from Bayview Ave. in Beverly.

Marblehead Light, Marblehead
The station at Marblehead Light was first established in 1835, with the lighthouse we see today being constructed later in 1896. Marblehead Light is known for being one of only 14 pyramidal skeletal lighthouses in the United States, meaning that the structure itself is not enclosed, and is made entirely of metal. The lighthouse is located at Chandler Hovey Park, a 3.74 acre recreational area at the end of Follett Street that is open to the public. Without accessing the park, Marblehead Light is best seen by boat from the entrance to Marblehead Harbor.

Salem, MA to Host Its First Food Truck Festival

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New England Open Markets will bring a cornucopia of food trucks to Salem Common to kick off the city’s annual Halloween celebrations with the first Salem Food Truck Festival. On October 1st and 2nd, 2016 from 11 AM to 6 PM over 25 food trucks from across New England will converge on historic Salem Common just in time for the kick-off of the month long 2016 Haunted Happenings Festival.

The City of Salem has partnered with New England Open Markets to expand the offerings in downtown Salem during this busy month-long celebration. Open Markets founder Chris Masci brings his festival/market expertise to Salem for another fantastic event that adds to the already successful roster of events that include Salem Open Market and Salem Holiday Market in Salem and many in South Boston including the highly successful Ink Block Market.

From Grilled Cheese to Poutine, from whoopie pies to cookies there is something on tap for everyone at the first food truck festival. Fan favorites Bon Me food truck, The Cookie Monstah, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and more will be bringing a food court like no other to the heart of the city. The two day festival will also include live music and local buskers.

For more information on Salem’s first food truck festival, visit New England Open Market’s website, or find the festival on Facebook.

“Hocus Pocus” Filming Locations in Salem, MA

hocus-pocusIt might be difficult to believe that Hocus Pocus, the famed cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy debuted 23 years ago, on July 16, 1993. You are probably familiar with the film’s story, which focuses on the Sanderson Sisters, who are executed as witches after casting a spell on young Thackery Binx, dooming him to roam the streets of Salem as an immortal black cat. 300 years later, a teenager named Max finds himself in the home of the Sanderson Sisters, where his lighting of the infamous black flame candle brings the trio back to life on Halloween night. Max, along with his sister Dani, and crush Allison, and Binx the cat of course, must then work together to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters once and for all.

Pioneer Village
310 West Ave | PioneerVillageSalem.org
The opening scenes of the film, featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village, a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930, and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally through September, and today the park is home to different events and festivals throughout the year.

Phillips Elementary School on Salem Common
The Phillips Elementary School building conveniently ended its run as a functioning school in 1992, making it the perfect location for a movie filming in Salem that required some exterior high school footage. While the building is not open to the public today the exterior can still be viewed from the Common.

The Ropes Mansion
318 Essex Street | PEM.org
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Max attends the Halloween party at Allison’s house, the exterior of which was actually filmed using one of the most prominent 18th century homes in Salem. The gardens located behind the mansion are free to visit and open to the public.

Old Town Hall
161 Essex Street | Salem.com
The other classic party scene in the film was actually filmed just a few blocks away at Old Town Hall in Derby Square. Famous in the film for Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” the building today is open to the public, and hosts the Salem Museum and performances of “Cry Innocent.”

Salem Common
Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common, where ironically enough the film is shown each year during Haunted Happenings. This year’s showing of Hocus Pocus on the Common will take place at 6 pm on October 29.

4 Ocean Avenue
This house on the end of Ocean Avenue was home to Max and his sister Dani in the film. While Hocus Pocus fans may view the exterior of the home from the street, please be advised that this site is PRIVATE PROPERTY and should be treated with respect.

Old Burial Hill
Orne Street, Marblehead, MA | OldBurialHill.org
The day-time cemetery scenes showing Max interacting with his new, not-so-welcoming classmates actually were not filmed in Salem at all. This footage was shot in nearby Marblehead at Old Burial Hill, one of the oldest graveyards in New England.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
285 Derby Street | NightmareGallery.com
While this museum was not featured in the filming for Hocus Pocus, it is home to an impressive figure of Winifred Sanderson, portrayed in the film by Bette Midler. Count Orlok’s is located at 285 Derby Street and is open as a museum and haunted house throughout October.

Do have a good time visiting some of the locations from this classic film, but please don’t “run amok!”

Salem.org