Recreating Music Vale Seminary: 1835-1876

This is an exhibit about the Music Vale Seminary of Salem,
Connecticut also referred to as the Normal School of Music.

Music Vale Seminary was the first music school in the United
States to confer degrees in music. Between the years of 1835 and 1876, founder
Oramel Whittlesey’s prestigious school made Salem a cultural center attracting
women from all parts of the United States, Canada, and the West Indies to
become competent in voice, piano, organ, guitar, and harp. The school was
destroyed by fire in 1868 only to be replaced by a more elaborate structure. In
1876 due to the death of Oramel Whittelsey and a lower enrollment rate caused
by the Civil War, the school closed.

In 1897 the structure was again destroyed by fire leaving
nothing but a foundation and a small number of surviving artifacts. Marked by a
small sign, the Music Vale Seminary is no longer in the hearts and memories of
Salem’s residents as it once was. It is the goal of this exhibit to recreate this site of
national importance, virtually.


Salem, Connecticut Historical Society