Events & Activities

The Salem Museum’s Speaker Series has moved from the third Monday of the month to the second Thursday. For the foreseeable future, speakers and most other programs will be on Zoom, Facebook Live, or YouTube.

Speaker Series:
Walking the Red Line: Residential Discrimination in Twentieth-Century Roanoke
Thursday, May 13 at 7 pm via Zoom

The impact of federal policies on residential segregation is often understudied in the history of race and prejudice in the American South. One such legacy, known as ‘redlining’, was neglected for half a century until more than one hundred redlining maps were re-discovered, exposing a New Deal policy that systemized racist housing policies across the United States. What is redlining? Where did this practice originate? And what does this have to do with the Roanoke Valley today?

Join Roanoke College senior Hunter Haskins as he addresses redlining, the organization that enabled it, and more in a brief history of Roanoke’s residential segregation. Haskins will define redlining, a discriminatory practice wherein loans, insurance, and other public services were denied to residents of neighborhoods based upon the area’s ethnic or racial makeup, and how the federal government facilitated this practice in Roanoke’s very own communities. This virtual presentation is free and open to the public. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s web site prior to the talk.

Beyond a factual rundown, Haskins will highlight how his undergraduate research on an obscure 1937 redlining map exposed a series of further discriminatory behavior against Roanoke’s African American communities, particularly in the Gainsboro and Melrose-Rugby neighborhoods. He will also showcase select portions of the map, using a digital mapping tool, and how later practices such as urban renewal prove that redlining was a practice that, rather than creating a form of segregation, perpetuated prejudices already found in the region.

Haskins is a double major in History and Political Science, pursuing a concentration in Public History, and is a member of the Roanoke College Honors Program. His areas of interest include twentieth century justice issues and American foreign policy. This presentation is part of his Honors Distinction Project, the culmination of two years of research and field work meant to gauge and contextualize for the first time some of the effects of redlining in the Roanoke area. Haskins hopes to one day work in or with a museum where he has the opportunity to research his interests further, and help others embrace the history around them as they face the challenges of the 21st century.

Please remember to mute yourself when you join our Zoom meeting. Your best view will be Speaker View, not Gallery View. Put questions in the chat and our speaker will answer them after the talk.

Memorial Day Weekend:
Fallen Defenders—Past to Present
In Person Event: Saturday, May 29 from 10 am to 4 pm

Experience a unique display of military uniforms and Fallen Soldier Battle Crosses representing almost every major conflict in American history from the Revolutionary War through Operation Inherent Resolve. The display will be set up on the grounds of the Salem Museum and is presented by the 24th Virginia Infantry Living Historians, who will be onsite from noon to 4 pm to answer questions.

Traditionally, in conflicts past, the spot where a soldier or a marine fell in battle was marked by a helmet placed on a rifle with its bayonet thrust into the ground. This marker was a powerful symbol of respect, but also of courage, sacrifice and loss. Our current day military rarely has the need to mark the locations of the fallen. Instead, the Fallen Soldier Battle Cross is often displayed at memorial services that are held after a battle.

Mask requirements are subject to change based on CDC guidelines. At this time, masks are recommended outdoors and required inside the museum.

Speaker Series/ Virtual Field Trip:
Roanoke Island: What’s Lost, What’s Found

Roanoke Island, on the North Carolina coast, has been the dramatic setting for more than four centuries of history, including the site of the well-known “Lost Colony” of 1587. As visitors sometimes confuse the Roanoke Valley of Virginia with Roanoke Island, the Salem Museum sponsored a virtual talk and field trip to learn the story of this very different Roanoke. Josh Nelson, a National Park Ranger at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site which includes Roanoke Island, was the featured speaker and tour guide.