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Salem residents angry over museum’s plan to move historical records

Documents from the Salem witch trials are among the records that would be housed in another community. –Wendy Maeda/globe staff

Salem is best known for the witch trials, but it was also a vitally important seaport in the Colonial economy and the hometown of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who took early inspiration for “The Scarlet Letter’’ and “The House of the Seven Gables’’ there.

Now, angry residents say, a plan by the Peabody Essex Museum threatens to cut the city’s link to its proud history.

The museum is preparing to move permanently a vast collection of the city’s historical records to a facility in another town and turn portions of the buildings that housed the museum’s Phillips Library into office space for the fast- growing museum.

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