Tours of Friendship are among our most popular offerings.
Guided Tour Descriptions
Free ranger-led tours and programs are offered year round. Tickets for tours are free, but require a reservation by calling 978-740-1650 or stopping by the Visitor Center on the same day of the tour.
For group reservations, please call or e-mail Maryann Zujewski
at 978-740-1662. Visit our For Teachers
page for information on our curriculum-based school programs. Salem Maritime also hosts special events
in addition to regular programs.
Thursday - Monday. (No Tours Tues/Wed)
1:00 - The US Custom House and the tall ship Friendship of Salem
2:30 - The Narbonne House and Derby House (Thursday only)
Saturday and Sunday
1:00, 2:30 - The US Custom House and the tall ship Friendship of Salem
11:00 - The Narbonne House and Derby House (Sunday only)
The US Custom House in Salem and the tall ship Friendship of Salem|
Limit: 20 people
Duration: 1 hour
This tour visits the U.S. Custom House, built in 1819 to house the offices of the U.S. Customs Service. During the height of Salem's East Indies trade, the Customs Service in Salem collected millions of dollars of taxes on incoming cargo, providing vital financial support for the new United States government. For three years, this building was the workplace of the famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne's experiences during his stint in the Custom House inspired his most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter.
Weather permitting, during the fall, winter, and spring the Custom House tour also visits Friendship of Salem, Salem Maritime's replica of a cargo vessel built in Salem in 1797. The tour visits the main deck and 'tween deck of the vessel to learn about the men who sailed all over the world to bring exotic goods back to Salem during the height of the East Indies trade. During the summer, Friendship is open for self-guided tours.
The Narbonne and Derby Houses
Limit: 8 people
Duration: 1 hour
This tour visits the two domestic homes at Salem Maritime. The Narbonne House, built in 1675, was for almost 300 years the home of successful businessmen and their families. The Narbonne House is unfurnished, and contains displays of some of the nearly 150,000 archeological artifacts that were excavated out of the yard. The 1762 Derby House was the first home of Elias Hasket and Elizabeth Crowninshield Derby. It is a beautiful example of a merchant's Georgian home, and is furnished to reflect the Derbys' 20 year-long residence in the house.
Market Watch: Learning about Salem's International Trade
Limit: 25 people
Duration: 30 minutes
This tour and hands-on activity visits the Public Stores at the back of the U. S. Custom House. Learn about 19th century international trade by examining the goods that were brought back to Salem by vessels like Friendship.
Dead Reckoning: Learning about Navigation
Duration: 20 minutes
How did sailors find their way in the days before GPS? This hands-on program will introduce you to early nineteenth-century navigational tools and techniques. This program usually takes place on board Friendship; alternate locations will be indicated on the weekly schedule when Friendship is not in port.
Haul Away! Moving Cargo Off a Sailing Ship
Duration: 20 minutes.
Learn about the crew of Friendship and help to move cargo from ship to shore! This program takes place on board Friendship.
The True Weight of Taxation: Measuring Cargo
Limit: 25 people
Duration: 20 Minutes
Friendship can carry three tractor-trailer loads of cargo, and in the 19th century, the entire cargo would have to be weighed and measured by hand! Learn how the U. S. Customs officers would have used scales and other tools to determine how much the ship's owners would have had to pay in taxes on their imports.