Current Exhibits

Exhibits at The Salem Museum & Historical Society


Lower Level:
 -The Brand Collection: Aboriginal Artifacts from across the Globe A collection of exotic pieces from Third World cultures, reflecting the travels and tastes of Cabell and Shirley Brand, two of Salem’s leading citizens.
1st Floor:
 -Salem’s Christmas Broadsides:  an exhibit featuring Christmas Broadsides, or end of the year addresses, by the Carrier Boys begging the readers to purchase the newspapers.  The papers include The Salem Times Register, The Salem Sentinel, The Conservative and the Roanoke Times.  All ranging from late 1860’s to the early 20th century!
1920’s Copper Still
2nd Floor:

The Letter By: Walter Biggs

-Favorite Son: The Hometown Art of Walter Biggs: The best known artist from the Roanoke Valley was famed illustrator and Salem native Walter Biggs. His work graced many a national magazine, advertisement, and book, and his local scenes are especially prized today in his hometown.

 -The Fiery Ordeal Through Which They Passed: Salem and the Civil War:  an exhibition commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, this exhibit chronicles the surprisingly active role Salem and Roanoke County played in the war, as well as how it has been remembered through the years.
Civil War era rifle and sabers

3rd Floor:

Courthouse Portraits of the Deyerle family
 -History in Oak Frames: The Courthouse Portraits of 1910:  for the new Roanoke County Courthouse in 1910, a local judge commissioned the creation of one of Virginia’s finest collections of historical portraiture. Come learn more about these local notables!


 -Pre-Salem: What was here before 1802? — An informative exhibit highlighting what happened in our valley long before Salem began as a town in 1802. Learn more about local Native American evidence and the lives of the earliest pioneers, including General Andrew Lewis.

William Williams, original owner of the Williams-Brown House

 -Seven Lives, One Hometown: A Biographical History of Salem– an exhibition chronicling the lives of seven significant Salemites through the past 210 years. As you learn about their lives, the history of Salem itself unfolds!

 -The Brown House Parlor:  A late Victorian parlor furnished with antiques original to the house during the Brown family’s residence.

Model of the Shooting Star

 -Lakeside! Sixty Summers of Ups and Downs:  In the hot summer of 1920, a mammoth swimming pool named Lakeside opened just east of Salem. Soon the resort added a Thriller (roller coaster), Twirl-Around (Ferris wheel), and other rides until Lakeside became the destination for summer fun in western Virginia. From 1968 until the park’s demise in the mid-80s, the centerpiece of Lakeside was the Shooting Star, a wooden roller coaster that at the time was the fastest in the world. Photographs, souvenirs, a scale model of the Shooting Star, and a million fond memories tell the exhilarating history of Lakeside’s sixty summers.

 4th Floor:
  -The Fashion Dolls of Pete Ballard: West Virginia artist and fashion historian Pete Ballard created these lovely ladies especially for the Salem Museum, to highlight women’s fashions in bygone days.

   -Salem’s Attic: Amazing Artifacts from our Archive— an exhibit of some of the really cool stuff from the Salem Museum collection