Trade Ships of Salem

Eli Whitney Museum

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Trading Cultures XV

Trade Ships of Salem

Thumbnail of Trade Ships of Salem project

2016 Summer Program

The American Revolution freed the colonies to govern themselves and to trade for themselves. Salem was a Massachusetts port town that had been a haven for privateers and blockade runners during the Revolution. After the Revolution, those ships and captains became early Masters of the trade that England had once ruled. Salem's adventurous sea captains sailed boldly to China, the South Seas, India and Africa. They returned with pepper, tea, silk, paintings, and then common, now precious, porcelain that we now call china.

Build a square rigged sailing ship and her crew. Construct, in small scale, the common goods (nails, buttons, whale oil) that left Salem to be traded several times on their route East. Make the pottery, paintings and furniture that returned to Salem and fixed a picture in America's imagination of the exotic culture of China. Construct the first elephant brought to America from India*. Construct the façade of one of Salem's Federalist Houses, monuments to the rewards of trade.

*a story that warns that elephants do not belong in captivity.

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