Selected Sites Valuable for Studying the Visual Culture of Colonial New England

NOTE: This list is meant to suggest the richness of museums, historical houses, libraries, archives, and other collections that would be easily available to institute participants. It focuses on resources located in Salem and its neighboring towns (Danvers, Beverly, Wenham, Marblehead), but also includes some resources a bit further away in Boston (20 miles), Plymouth (40 miles), and Worcester (60 miles).

North of Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
North of Boston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau gives the visitor an in-depth look into the sites, sounds, and experiences you can receive in all four seasons on the North Shore.  North of Boston’s slogan is “There’s a Story in Every Mile,” and through their useful information you can enjoy the oldest museum in the USA; historical homes and properties; world-renowned art colonies; music; theater and much more.

Massachusetts Historical Society
For more than two centuries the Massachusetts Historical Society has been collecting and preserving materials relating to the history of our commonwealth and our nation. The holdings of the Massachusetts Historical Society encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history.

Destination Salem
Destination Salem is a complete access guide to visiting Salem.  You can find information about recent local happenings as well as dates for upcoming city events.  Destination Salem links you to every attraction from the Peabody Essex Museum to the fascinating Salem Trolley tours.  Exploring this web site will take you through a virtual tour through Salem’s historic attractions and accommodations.

Historic Salem Incorporated

Historic Salem Incorporated is designed for those interested in taking an in-depth look at Salem’s historical sites.  You can navigate through architectural links and get involved with current preservation issues.  The Historic Salem Incorporated website contains a newsletter that you may download.  Learn about the people, events and news that make Salem the landmark city of Massachusetts.

Salem Massachusetts Architecture

Architecture in Salem dates back to the early seventeenth century.  The homes and buildings enhance the beauty of the Salem atmosphere.  Visit this web site and browse through all of Salem’s historic districts such as McIntire, Derby, Lafayette and Washington Square.  Visit each home or building and learn about its history.  Architecture is an essential part of learning about Salem’s past.  This website gives you the opportunity to see it all from your own computer!

Peabody Essex Museum
When visiting the Peabody Essex Museum’s website, you will journey to a world of art and culture.  As one of the largest museums on the East Coast, the Peabody Essex Museum is home to a large collection of art and culture stemming from the early China trade and East India trading company, as well as art reflecting New England’s culture.  

The House of Seven Gables
The House of Seven Gables, also known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, was built in 1668, and is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. In addition, The House of Seven Gables constitutes its own national historic district on The National Register of Historic Places.

New England Historic Genealogical Society
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the oldest genealogical society in the country. If you have New England ancestors, or are interested in genealogical research of any kind, you will find that NEHGS is an important resource for helping you achieve your research goals. Explore our website and discover the many benefits available to you.

Grave Matter
Grave Matter is a collection of photographs and historical information of colonial cemeteries and gravestones of New England in southern Maine, southern New Hampshire and northeast Massachusetts. Within these pages are doctors, merchants, Revolutionary Patriots and Loyalists, British soldiers, judges, lawyers, sea captains, pirates and privateers, governors, slaves, military officers and veterans, Civil War generals, clergy, and in most cases all that is left is their headstone and the impression they made on history during their time.  

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities is just the place you have been looking for if you love antiques, historic homes, and landscapes. From house tours, programs, lectures and special events, to preservation and an archive of more than one million images, SPNEA has something to offer everyone who is committed to discovering, preserving and celebrating New England’s heritage.

Danvers Historical Preservation Commission
Known as Salem Village in the 17th century, there are still over a dozen houses in Danvers dating from that era.  Becoming independent from Salem in 1752, Danvers witnessed the development of various neighborhood villages, each having its era of prominence, and possessing a unique character.  Through this website, the Danvers Historical Preservation Commission outlines the important colonial history of Salem Village from the 17th century up through the 19th century.  

Danvers Historical Society
The Danvers Historical Society was formed in 1889 "to discover, collect, preserve and exhibit objects which illustrate local history, but particularly the history and development of the Town of Danvers." Historic properties owned and managed by the Society are Putnam House (1648), Page House (1754), and Glen Magna Farms (1812/1893). The Society's collection is housed at Tapley Memorial Hall and represents a large variety of cultural and decorative arts objects. In 1987 the Society became stewards of the Endicott Burying Ground.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead website is designed to give basic information about visiting this 17th century property associated with the Salem Village Witchcraft of 1692, and the era of the American Revolution. Also included is basic, factual information about the infamous witchcraft outbreak of 1692. The Homestead is owned and operated by the Danvers Alarm List Company, Inc., a non-profit, educational, 18th century reenactment group.

Beverly Historical Society and Museum
The Beverly Historical Society and Museum preserves and interprets Beverly’s social, artistic and cultural history.  It does this by maintaining historic properties and collecting, exhibiting, and conserving artifacts and archival materials associated with Beverly.  The Beverly Historical Society makes available to researchers library collections, and initiates and works with special interest groups within the society in order to further specific collections, properties, and interests.
The Wenham Museum
Preserving our country’s social history, the Wenham Museum features the circa 1690 Claflin-Richards House with three centuries of architecture, furnishings and artifacts, a world-famous doll and toy collection, a model train room with six operating layouts of twelve trains in various gauges, a costume and textile gallery, a children’s interactive Play and Learn Room and special changing exhibit galleries that bring history and culture to life. Our accessible, interactive exhibits are designed to engage both adults and children, providing multi-generational education and entertainment in a delightful atmosphere.

Plimoth Plantation 
Plimoth Plantation’s website invites you to browse through “Living Breathing History” of colonial New England life.  In addition, this website allows you to explore the plantation’s historical background. It gives you links to important aspects such as “The English colonists,” “Myth and reality,” “The wampanoag,” and “Thanksgiving,” to name a few.  This is a very informational site, and provides important 17th century history. 

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport’s website provides you with a variety of educational information.  It gives you all you need to know to plan your visit to Mystic Seaport, as well as educational offerings of all ages.  In addition, Mystic Seaport’s site provides you access to their different collections. 

Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village's purpose is to provide modern Americans with a deepened understanding of their own times through a personal encounter with the New England past. The Village is a nonprofit educational institution. Its collections, exhibits, and programs present the story of everyday life in a small New England town during the years 1790 to 1840.

Boston Athenaeum

The Boston Athenaeum, founded in 1807, is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries in the United States. For nearly half a century the Athenaeum was the unchallenged center of intellectual life in Boston, and by 1851 had become one of the five largest libraries in the United States. Today its collections comprise over half a million volumes, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts.

American Antiquarian
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is an independent research library founded in 1812 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The library's collections document the life of America's people from the colonial era through the Civil War and Reconstruction. Collections include books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, manuscripts, music, graphic arts, and local histories.

Boston University’s Library

Boston University allows students, faculty, staff, as well as the outside guest, to use their Virtual Catalog to simultaneously search the catalogs of the libraries in the Boston Library Consortium, view combined search results from these catalogs, and place requests for books.  You may also request delivery of these materials either to the Medical Library Interlibrary Loan Department or to the Mugar Library Circulation Desk.

Harvard University’s Library

Consult Conducting Research to find subject guides and links to other valuable information on doing library research. This web site is an online gateway to the extraordinary library resources of Harvard University and serves as an important research tool for Harvard's current students, faculty, staff, and researchers. The site also provides practical information on each of the more than 90 libraries that form the Harvard system.

Boston Public Library 
Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library was the first publicly supported municipal library in America, the first public library to lend a book, the first to have a branch library and the first to have a children’s room. Today, the Boston Public Library boasts 27 neighborhood branches, free Internet access, two unique restaurants, an award-winning website and an online store featuring reproductions of the Boston Public Library’s priceless photographs and artwork.