Gordon in the News: last updated 08/06/2013

Salem Museum Offers Personal Enrichment Courses by Gordon's Institute for Public History

For Immediate Release
August 6, 2013

Media Contact
Cyndi McMahon

SALEM, MA—Imagine what it would mean to your loved ones to have a detailed family tree archiving the story of your family's history; or what you could do with insider tips from pros on what and when to buy in the world of antiquing. In this era of high tech information sharing and social media streams, one local nonprofit is taking time to pause, bring people together, and rediscover some of historical Salem’s most fascinating subjects and skills. Starting this September, community enrichment courses will become a cornerstone in the mission of Salem's newest historical attraction—The Salem Museum, located at Derby Square.

"The Old Town Hall has recently become a significant local cultural resource," said David Goss, director for the Institute for Public History. "Now in our second season, we are striving to contribute even more by offering the general public high-quality educational programs.” Taught by staff, faculty and many individuals from within the broad community network of the Institutes' parent organization, Gordon College, these topics will be first-time offerings in the region.

The newly offered courses will provide residents with an opportunity to learn about the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trials; how to collect antiques; how to care for and store family archives; and how to trace your family history. "To the best of our knowledge, no other area institution is making these popular subjects available to the greater North Shore community," said Goss, who will be teaching the course on the Causes and Effects of the Salem Witch Trials, and who also serves at the chief archivist for the Patton Family archives, one of American's first decorated military families.

The courses will consist of eight classes, once a week, beginning the first week of September and running for eight consecutive weeks. The Institute has designed this first slate of courses to ensure teaching quality, a low student-instructor ratio, and a personalized approach. "Community enrichment is clearly important to the residents of Salem," said Goss. "That fact is clear and can be felt from the active participation in they City's Senior Center, the community's recreational offerings, and the local YMCA; and through the skill-focused community enrichment offerings of area universities. With the Salem Museum siting at ground zero of this historical city, and with our access to instructors with unique teaching perspectives, it seemed a natural progression of where the museum is headed."

In addition to serving residents, the Institute of Public History is also hoping these courses will create an opportunity for many business leaders in the area's tourism sector to learn about increasingly popular trends that could help their employees offer more to their customers. From the bustle of Cape Ann's antiques market to a nuanced understanding of the impact the Witch Trials had on the North Shore, the courses aim to provide knowledge that will both enrich local residents and benefit the commerce community.

The Salem Museum, created by the Institute for Public History at Gordon College, is a free-admission seasonal museum that showcases the history of the City of Salem in the Old Town Hall. Open from June through October during the height of the City's tourist season, the museum is creating new pockets of culture and serving as a needed resource with live theatre performances, local artwork, historical panels of the city's past, a lecture series, workshops and non-credit educational offerings. The purpose of the Salem Museum is to provide information about the City of Salem and its history to the area community and the general public.

Visit the Salem Museum web site for information, pricing and registration or contact David Goss, director of the Gordon College Institute for Public History, at 978.867.4862.


Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and is located just north of Boston. Gordon offers students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society. Gordon stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.