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Stories abound during Salem Women’s History Day

By: Rae Francouer

Women’s history is everyone’s history. And while Salem’s women have had compelling stories to tell over the centuries, their voices haven’t always been heard.

Salem Women’s History Day, a collaboration among Salem’s history-oriented organizations, is an inspiring day of storytelling through lectures, theater and special tours. The daylong event is on Sunday, March 24, at seven participating organizations. Julie Arrison-Bishop, special projects manager at The House of the Seven Gables, organizes this annual celebration.

“Salem Women’s History Day presents unique aspects of women’s history in interactive sessions throughout the city,” says Arrison-Bishop. “Salem sets aside this day every year to reflect on a multitude of histories that aren’t always shared — women who kept the home fires burning, the first female entrepreneurs, mothers, servants, enslaved people, laborers and trailblazers.”

The House of the Seven Gables has invited Dina Vargo, author of the new book, “The Hidden History of Boston,” to talk about the importance of women’s history in our country and in this historically significant region. “One of the constants through time is the way women have come together to get things done. It’s happening now,” she says. The newly elected congresswomen seek common ground to meet common goals. Their decision to wear white, as the early suffragettes did, calls attention to their presence and their potential. “Women’s history is having its moment now in part because it’s so much easier to share the stories of the mavericks and trailblazers,” says Vargo. “We need women to look up to and serve as examples for ourselves.”

Vargo’s presentation is scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Visitors Center. In addition to her presentation, The Gables will conduct two special tours highlighting some of the women who shaped the The House of the Seven Gables. The House of the Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Some onsite parking is available. Tour times and details can be found at Admission is free for Salem Residents. The total cost for non-residents is $16.



Other participating organizations include:


Essex Heritage

Women of North Shore Lighthouses

3 p.m. at Saint Joseph Hall

Historian John Galluzzo explores some of the lesser known stories behind lighthouse keeing in Essex County.

Free for all


History Alive, Inc.

Artists and Abolitionists: Salem’s Daughters Abroad

5 to 6 p.m.

An interactive travelogue with Salem’s 19th century culture makers.

Free for Salem residentsbut registration is required at


Phillips House Museum

Salem Women’s History Day at Phillips House

A day of special guided tours focusing on the role of women at 34 Chestnut Street through the years. House tours run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the half hour.

Free for Salem residents; non-residents $5.

Event ticket/info URL:


The Salem Witch Museum

Women and Witchcraft

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to The Witch Museum’s presentations, all are invited to meet two outspoken women accused of witchcraft in 1692. Hear about their lives, their accusations and their worries about the witchcraft outbreak and how it has progressed.

Free for Salem Residents.


Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Open House at the Narbonne House: 349 years of Women’s History

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Join the National Park Rangers of Salem Maritime National Historic Site during this open house to explore the stories and artifacts of the women who owned, lived in, and worked in this small home over the last three centuries.

Free for all.


The Witch House

Massachusett Tribe Squaw Sachem

2019 is the 400-year anniversary of Squaw Sachem’s coming into power and ruling over Salem and the surrounding area.

Free for Salem Residents









Date: March 21, 2019

Author: sperling

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