The Tyler Public Library is inviting guests to step back in time to explore a dark part of American history.

Reference Librarian Rozanna Bennett said the “History at the Library: The Salem Witch Trials” exhibit, which is open through Sunday, takes guests through the timeline of the trials from spring 1692 in Massachusetts. Upon entry, guests will be paired with someone representing a person who lived through that time. Throughout the exhibits, guests will learn what happened to the person during the trials.

According to, about 20 people were put on trial in Salem and killed on accusations of practicing witchcraft and devilry. An additional 150 men, women and children were accused in the next several months, some of whom were jailed.

Bennett said the exhibit shares a part of history that remains relevant.

“The Salem Witch Trials took place over 300 years ago, which may sound ancient, but over the course of human history is actually very close to our modern day,” Bennett said. “These events continue to fascinate scholars and the public.”

Bennett said the tragic time in American history offers teachable moments.

“It’s vital for us as Americans to look at that time, recognize the tragic mistakes that were made and treat all those living in our communities with dignity, respect and kindness,” she said. “We hope this is the lesson the exhibit imparts.”

The library this past year had a display about the Titanic. Bennett said it is important to find a run, interesting way to teach about historical events.

“We like to make it personalized, tell the stories that often go untold,” she said. “This year, I hope the community comes and learns something about a person’s story, which they didn’t know before.”

The exhibit is free to the public and includes replicas of court documents, witness statements and petitions as well as paintings and illustrations. The exhibit is open 3 pm. to 6:45 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is the last day for the exhibit.

For more information, call (903) 593-7323 or visit

Multimedia Journalist

Multimedia journalist Jessica Payne covers several counties in East Texas. In 2011, she left her hometown Houston for East Texas. In 2016, she left the 9-5 office routine to pursue a passion for sharing inspiring stories and engaging with the community.

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