Things to Do at Salem Maritime

The maritime history of Salem, Massachusetts stretches back nearly four hundred years. Today, you can explore that history at Salem Maritime National Historic Site through guided tours, exhibits, wayside signs, junior ranger programs, special events, and films.

Note: Friendship of Salem is currently undergoing repairs and routine maintenance at dry dock in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The Derby House is currently undergoing refurbishment and will be closed Summer 2017.

Young visitors are sworn in as Junior Rangers
Young visitors are sworn in as Junior Rangers


At the Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street

  • Become a Junior Ranger! Stop by the Visitor Center when you arrive to learn more or get ahead of the game by downloading Junior Ranger activities online.
  • Watch a film
    • Where Past is Present, 27 minutes, Daily screenings at 10:15am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, 4:00pm, FREE
    • Salem Witch Hunt, 38 minutes, Daily screenings at 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, ADULT: $5.00, SENIORS/KIDS: $3.00

Pedricks store house on Derby Wharf
Pass by Pedricks store house as you walk along Derby Wharf
On the Waterfront, 193 Derby Street
  • Visit the Custom House, open daily May to October from 10am to 4pm. **Please note that the Custom House will only be open 1pm - 4pm on 9/12 and 9/13.
  • Visit the Narbonne House, open daily July through September from 11am to 12pm and 2:30pm to 3:30pm. ** Please note that the Narbonne House will be closed 9/12 and 9/13.
  • Explore Salem's Historic Wharves using wayside signs.
  • Walk the 1/2 mile length of Derby Wharf to visit the Derby Wharf Light Station
  • Visit Waite and Peirce, our park store, open daily 10am to 5pm.
  • Download our self-guided audio tour to learn more about the site.
  • Check out one of our self-guided walking tours
  • Bring a lunch and dine at our picnic tables, surrounded by centuries old trees and historic structures. Remember to carry out your trash!

A group of children with a Park Ranger
Education Rangers with group of preschool students

Special Events & Exhibits

In addition to our regularly scheduled programs, Salem Maritime hosts and participates in a variety of events in the community of Salem and beyond.

Remember to check for any upcoming special events on our Calendar.

Some highlights for Summer 2017 include:

Preschoolers in the Park
Preschool aged children and their favorite adults can join park rangers at Salem Maritime once a month at 10am for free Storytime, crafts, and activity sessions. No registration required. The dates are as follows:

Monday, June 5, 2017
Monday, July 3, 2017
Monday, July 31, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017

Trails and Sails Weekends
As part of Essex National Heritage Area's Trails and Sails weekends, offering 150+ free events at historic, cultural, and natural sites all over the region, Salem Maritime National Historic Site will be offering the following programs:

Saturday, September 16th, 2017: 10:00am - 10:45am
Slavery and Abolition in Salem: Slave labor played a vital role in Salem's Maritime economy before and even after Massachusetts abolished slavery in 1783. Join us for a special program to discuss the history and nature of slavery and abolition in Massachusetts and learn how these changes were experienced by Sabe and Rose Derby, an enslaved man and woman of the Derby family.

Sunday, September 17th, 2017: 12:00PM - 4:00pm
Sailor Crafts and Activities: Imagine what life was like at sea as you rummage through the sea bags of a ship’s boy, a sailor, and a captain. Try writing your name using signal flags used to send messages at sea. Then, make a Sailor Valentine out of sea shells like the ones sailors would create for their loved ones back home. Drop in program at the Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St., Salem, MA.

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017: 10:00am - 10:45am
The Middle Passage: Experiences of the Slave Ship: At least 18 Salem vessels are known to have left Salem with the purpose of transporting slaves from Africa to the American and Caribbean markets. Join us as for a special program which examines the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, New England's role, and life aboard slave ships.

Sunday, September 24th, 2017: 11:00am - 12:00pm
Meanings of Freedom Tour: Join us for a special walking tour resulting from recent research on black history at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Like many wealthy Salem families, the Derby family owned slaves. We will discuss the black experience of living in Salem both before and after Massachusetts’ legal end of slavery in 1783, as well as Salem's links to the institution of slavery at large. Participants walk to relevant sites and examine documents to learn about enslaved, free, and freed Blacks in 18th and early 19th century Salem. Meet at Waite and Peirce, 193 Derby Street, Salem, MA.

For more information on nearby Trails and Sails events, see the official schedule here.

The Augmented Landscape
Five Artists from Boston Cyberarts have created ten augmented reality sculptures for this outdoor exhibition taking place on the water front at Salem Maritime National Historic Site. The exhibits can be viewed through any smart phone or tablet after downloading a free augmented reality viewing application.

The industrial buildings at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
The industrial buildings at Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
Beyond Salem Maritime National Historic Site


Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

160 Derby Street
Salem, MA 01970


(978) 740-1650

Contact Us