The following exhibits are currently on view at the Cabot House
Emerging from Salem's Shadow
After the tumultuous years of the second half of the 17th century, filled as they were with political upheaval, Indian wars, and culminating in the witchcraft crises of 1692, the new century must have seemed to local residents like entering a calm port.Although religion remained an important aspect of colonial life, the power of the church in civic life was on the wane. Beverly’s economy remained focused on maritime trades and agriculture, but new trades emerged during the period. Clockmakers, cabinet makers, silversmiths and other artisans created objects for an emerging well-to-do class. A spirit of change and possibility emerged in the 18th century, with profound consequences for our local community and America.
Opening soon: Set at Liberty
The History of Enslaved People in Beverly, Massachusetts in the 17th and 18th Centuries
The history of enslaved Africans in Beverly is rooted in 1619, when about twenty Africans were brought to Point Comfort in Virginia. The need for labor in the new world soon made lifetime slavery the norm; any child born to an enslaved mother was also considered a slave. Both Europeans and Americans engaged in the slave trade and more than 13 million black men, women, and children were kidnapped and sold. Native Americans were also enslaved; at the end of the Pequot War in 1637, Massachusetts became the first English colony to sell captive Indians. A scarcity of labor in the sugar and cotton plantations of the American south made enslaved people a crucial part of the economy, but all thirteen colonies had enslaved populations. In the north, enslaved laborers were not as vital to the economy, but many worked as laborers and servants for the wealthy and in the maritime trades. Four hundred years later, we are still fighting the effects of the horrible institution of slavery.
Beverly Bank: An Early American Bank, Est. 1802
Displaying original documents and artifacts, this exhibit uses the history of the bank, which began at the Cabot House, to explore the role of banks in the development of a strong financial system in the United States. The Cabots and their business associates used profits from their highly successful, global trading enterprise to invest in the building of key infrastructure, such as the bridge to Salem, in Beverly and throughout Massachusetts. Original records and physical evidence such as paint still extant in the room evoke an early nineteenth-century American bank.