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.

Juli

1 comment:

  1. We deliberately chose Salem as our new home because it is both elegant and historically-vibrant (since our personal and professional lives, of course, are centered in both the scholarly and the "cultural tourism" aspects of history)

    --and--most definitely--because Salem is FUN, truly unusual, and kinda funky/kinky/progressive--

    Most of all, it's openhearted, and open-minded.

    Salem is doing something "right" -- we are totally in love with it here. And so, too, is the Hawthorne Hotel, which Jim and I refer to as the "hospitable heart of Salem."

    The Hawthorne was the first warm hearth (literally) to welcome us when we first moved here--the day after we moved here, we were snowed under in a blizzard--and the Hotel was the only place we could find still open and welcoming folks for meals amid the incredible mountains of snow!

    The Hotel continues to be our place of "choice" when we wish to share time with each other or with colleagues/visitors.

    Kudos on your entries, Juli. They are wonderful

    Beannacht,
    Maggi

    ....to be true to the heart's one choice
    is the long labor of the mind.

    --Poem: "II," by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir. © Counterpoint.

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    ** Understanding History thru Music (sm) **
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    Are we not formed, as notes of music are,
    For one another, though dissimilar.
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