Black and white photo of tools from Salems

History is all around us. Stories are the big picture…or a snapshot in time. They provide the basics–who, what, where, when, why, and how. Stories explore the human experience and society. They can complicate, maybe even upend, our understandings of history.

At Salem Maritime National Historic Site, we aim to engage visitors with the multi-faceted stories of Salem and maritime New England, and their place in a global society. We hope these stories inspire you to engage with your community and the world!

  • African Americans in Essex County, Massachusetts: An Annotated Guide..

    African Americans in Essex

    The rich history of Black people, cultures, and communities in Essex County, Massachusetts runs deep.

  • Yellowed, handwritten page from a family Bible.

    Gradual Emancipation

    In 1783, a series of cases before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts effectively ended slavery as a legal practice in the state.

  • Exterior black and white photo of brick buildings.

    History of Salem Maritime

    As the first national historic site in the National Park System, Salem Maritime is reflective of historic preservation in the 1930s.

  • Black and white photo of three girls dressed in pirate costumes.

    Salem's Polish Community

    In 1988, Salem Maritime acquired St. Joseph Hall, and thus became the steward of a piece of Salem’s Polish community history.

  • Illustration of a faceless doll in a pink dress holding a basket in one hand and one on her head.

    Storytelling with Art

    Faceless dolls are a celebrated handicraft from the Dominican Republic. Each doll is unique, telling the story of its' artist.

  • Two-story brick building with white columns and 12 steps leading to an arched doorway.

    U.S. Customs Service

    In 1818, the U.S. Treasury purchased property across from Derby Wharf to serve as permanent headquarters for the Customs Service.

  • A large three-masted ship sailing on blue waters on a cloudless day.

    Voyages of FRIENDSHIP

    The original FRIENDSHIP was an “East Indiaman,” a merchant ship used in East Indies trade following the American Revolution.

Last updated: May 4, 2022

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Mailing Address:

160 Derby Street
Salem , MA 01970



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