Witchcraft Past and Present at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem
Keywords:Salem, witch trials, Wiccans, Witches, museums, heritage, history tourism
“Reckoning and Reclaiming,” an exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum, located in the center of Salem, Massachusetts, ran from September 2021 through March 2022, bringing together materials from the Salem witch trials of 1692 with Frances F. Denny’s photographs of contemporary Witches and a video of Alexander McQueen’s’ haute couture fashion show that he claimed was inspired by the trials. The mix of old and new witchcraft was visually jolting. Although the new materials provided some relief from the main part of the show that documents the horror of the state supported terror that was the trials, the mixing and matching of the two did neither full service. It further-more served as its own form of commercialization of witchcraft; something that in the past that the museum has avoided.
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