Sunday, August 14, 2005
Identity Issues in Salem, Massachusetts
One of the most hotly debated issues here in Salem is the subject matter revolving around the question, "What does Salem represent, and what it should represent?" Are we an historic seaport, filled with fascinating antique buildings and museums that tell the story of another time, or are we a kind of kitschy village built around the witch history of the 1600's, translated into a modern-day haven for tourists interested in that aspect of our culture?
The photos presented here tell the story of the contrast. Today I was going to write about the Phillips Library, part of the Peabody Essex Museum. When I went out to take my photo of the stately old buildings that house the library, the street was populated by participants in the Heritage Days Essex Street Festival.
The fact of the matter is that we are both things, and I think if we embrace it all, we can all relax and just enjoy everything that Salem has to offer. So today, if you are coming to Salem, enjoy the kitsch, and tomorrow, come back for the culture. I promise to write about the Phillips Library this coming week.