17th Century Saturdays

Celebrate 350 years of stories during 17th Century Saturdays at The House of the Seven Gables.

Activities include guided tours of the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, Living History Labs in the 1682 Hooper-Hathaway House, and unique shopping in the Museum Store, located in the c.1655 Retire Beckett House. Take in the architecture, seaside views, and the annual exhibit about how we know what we know about The Gables.

Members: Free
Guided tours: $15.00

For more information about 17th Century Saturday events around the region, please visit northofboston.org.

Historic New England Open House

Most Historic New England properties are open for free on the first Saturday in June. From Maine to Rhode Island, learn about the people who lived in stone-enders, urban mansions, rural estates, and working farms during free guided tours at Historic New England’s house museums.

Visit Salem’s Historic New England properties for free- the Gedney House at 21 High Street and the Phillips House at 34 Chestnut Street.

Salem Arts Festival Kick Off Celebration

Join us as we kick off the 2018 10th anniversary Salem Arts Festival with an outdoor celebration featuring Los Sugar Kings!

This event is FREE! (Suggested donation of $10 with all proceeds benefiting the Festival and all of the artists and performers that participate.)

Follow the event on Facebook for the latest updates.


Salem’s Whaling History

Information for this post was provided by the National Park Service’s publication, “Pickled Fish and Salted Provisions, Oil and Bone: Salem’s Whaling Industry.”

Did you know that whaling was once a major industry in Salem? While we often think of Salem’s merchant past in terms of the spice trade, whaling also contributed to Salem’s wealth for a short time during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The first whaling ventures in Salem began shortly after its founding in 1626. These early attempts at whaling used only a couple of small ships that were not large enough for the whales to be processed onboard. As a result, the whales needed to be pulled ashore where their blubber could be processed into oil.

During this time period, whales were considered valuable due to their oil which was often shipped back to Europe to fuel lamps, and whalebone and baleen were used to create the structures of corsets and eyeglass frames. As the popularity of these products and other consumer goods increased, Salem’s whaling ships grew to meet demand.

Salem’s presence in international trade was steadily increasing until President Jefferson issued the unpopular Embargo Act of 1807. The act came at the expense of Salem’s trading industries, and while it was repealed just two years later it was too late for Salem’s merchants to make a comeback on the international trade front. As a result, overseas consumers began to purchase goods elsewhere, which startled Salem residents who relied on international trade for income and inspired them to shift their focus back to whaling.

Their efforts paid off, and in 1830 an article in the Salem Gazette proclaimed Salem as the best location for the whaling industry in Massachusetts. Through the 1830s, Salem had three active whale oil refineries in town to help keep up with the demand for whale-based products like candles along with scrimshaw, corsets, and parasols. At the height of Salem’s whaling industry in the 1830s, whaling vessels produced $165,306 worth of oil and $7,535 worth of whalebone.

By 1837 the whaling industry began to rapidly decline primarily due to an economic recession (the result of land speculation) which made wealthy businessmen less likely to invest in whaling. Within the following decade, many of Salem’s whaling ships were destroyed at sea and funds were not available to repair or replace them.

Only about two whaling ships were active by 1842, and while they were able to make sizable profits, investors began to turn their support towards other industries like the railroad and manufacturing. Salem’s last whaling vessel was sold to a company in Boston in 1871 thereby ending Salem’s role in the industry. By this point whale oil had largely been replaced by petroleum and the steelspring had proved more efficient than whalebone.

You can learn about Salem’s whaling industry today with information from the National Park Service, and you can see whales yourself with 7 Seas Whale Watch and Capt. Bill & Sons Whale Watch a few towns away in Gloucester. For more on whaling throughout the state, be sure to check out the sites along the Massachusetts Whale Trail. The trail includes museums, attractions, historic sites, whale watching trips, and tours all related to whales and their connections to Massachusetts. Learn more about the Whale Trail at MassVacation.com and share you adventures with #whaletrailMA and #SalemMA.

10th Annual Salem Arts Festival

The Salem Arts Festival returns for its 10th year with a weekend full of family-friendly programming devoted to the arts in our community. The event kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday June 1 with viewings of art in Old Town Hall and live music outside in Derby Square. The rest of the Festival will be located throughout Derby Square, Artists’ Row, Front Street, and within Old Town Hall and will feature live musical performances, belly dancing, public art projects, a vibrant street fair and more.



The festival celebrates various art forms and gives attendees of all ages creative ways to create art. Featured art styles will include but are not limited to painting, photography, sculpture, installation, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theater, poetry, culinary, and visual art. Also planned for the event are local food pop-ups, a mural slam, and vendors specializing in handmade, locally sourced, and ethically crafted goods.



The Salem Arts Festival will also celebrate this year’s featured community art project: “Bee to Brick.”This installation features playful swarms of several hundred “bees” around the festival area, created entirely out of recycled plastic bottles and other reusable plastic pollution. Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages have created hundreds of bees in an effort to increase awareness of the critical role pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystem. After the project, the bees will be transformed to “bricks” that will be used be students from the Phoenix School for their “Bottle Brick Project.” Bottle bricks are recycled plastic bottles stuffed with trash until they are compact enough for use in building projects, such as benches or walls.



The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets, and would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers. The Salem Arts Festival is just one part of Salem Main Street’s effort to promote Salem’s downtown neighborhood as a destination for attractions, community projects, dining, shopping, and cultural events throughout the year. For more information about the Salem Arts Festival visit SalemArtsFestival.com or follow the event on Facebook.

Anime Trivia

Put down that body pillow and come down to Bit Bar for the best trivia around. Bit Bar is 21+ after 8:00 pm.

Memorial Day Weekend

The Salem Veterans Council and the City of Salem host commemorative events for Memorial Day weekend:

Sunday, May 27

10:30 – Wreath-laying ceremony at the Veterans Section of St. Mary’s Cemetery off of North Street.
11:00 (approximately) – Following wreath-laying there will be a naval cannon salute to those lost at sea at Winter Island.
12:00 – Memorial Mass at St. John’s on St. Peter Street.
13:00 (approximately) – Collation at the Polish League of American Veterans (PLAV) club on Daniels Street. All are welcome to attend. Also at 13:00, dedication of Ryan Sq. – corner of Hawthorne and Derby Streets.

Memorial Day – Monday, May 28

10:30 – Parade departs from Commercial Street. Free Trolley ride for any veteran unable to march.
11:00 – Memorial Day Ceremony at Green Lawn Cemetery with honored guests
12:30 (approximately) – Collation at the VFW, 95 Derby Street. All are welcome to attend.

Call 978-745-0883 with any questions.

“Wild Designs” Opening Day Festival

Dive into the connection between the natural and designed worlds as we celebrate the Peabody Essex Museum’s new exhibition! Meet live animals that have inspired products, create your own bioinspirations, learn from innovators featured in the exhibition and much more.

All programs are included with admission. Salem residents and kids are always FREE at PEM!

Made possible by the Lowell Institute.
Details at https://www.pem.org/events/wild-designs.

Starship Bridge Simulator at Bit Bar

Bit Bar will be turned into the bridge of a starship. You and your friends assume the jobs of Captain, Helm, Science, Communication, Engineering, and Weapon Control officers, and together operate your ship and defend the sector from evil aliens!

Cockpit space is limited and will be made available on a first-come first-served basis. Enlistment periods are expected to last around 30 minutes, though premature death is, of course, a strong possibility.

Bit Bar is 21+ after 8:00 pm.

Parker Brothers Board Game Night

Bit Bar honors the rich history of Parker Brothers in Salem! We will have all the classic Parker Brothers board and card games you remember plus a new obscure piece of history each month.

Bit Bar is 21+ after 8:00 pm.