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/ Virtual Field Trip:
Roanoke Island: What’s Lost, What’s Found
Virtual Event Saturday, March 13 at 11 am via Zoom

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 is sponsoring a virtual talk and field trip to Roanoke Island 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, will be the featured speaker and tour guide on Saturday, March 13, at 11 am. He will take an in-depth look at the complex history and mystery of England’s start in North America. This virtual presentation is free, open to the public, and will be held via Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s web site  on the morning of the talk.

Nelson will explore the events and unknowns surrounding the first English colony in North America. Beginning at the historic Waterside Theater, he will cover the multiple English voyages, the interactions between the English and Native people, and some theories about what happened to the Lost Colony.

The tour continues with a visit to the archaeology site of the 1585 scientific workshop and the earthen fort which is a reproduction of one from the 1580s. Continuing through the forest and ending at the north shore of the island provides an opportunity to discuss the yet-to-be-discovered location where the colonists built their homes.

The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site protects and preserves known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590, as well as the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

Speaker Series:
The Archaeology of Slavery: African American Material Culture in Virginia
Thursday, April 15 at 7 pm via Zoom

For Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz, archaeology and the objects that are unearthed are essential to uncovering and preserving the history of enslaved Africans and African Americans in Virginia. She will share what she has discovered in a virtual talk on Thursday, April 15 at 7 pm as part of the Salem Museum’s Speaker Series. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s website on the day of her talk.

Dr. Deetz is the Director of Programming, Education, and Visitor Engagement at Stratford Hall, which preserves the legacy of four generations of the Lee family and is located on the Potomac south of Washington, DC. She is also a Visiting Scholar in the Department of African American Studies at U.C. Berkeley. Deetz holds a BA in Africana Studies and History from The College of William & Mary and an MA and Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at U.C. Berkeley, Randolph College, Roanoke College, University of Lynchburg, and the University of Virginia. Dr. Deetz, a historian and archaeologist, partnered with National Geographic to produce the documentary film Rise Up: The Legacy of Nat Turner (National Geographic Channel), and wrote two cover stories for National Geographic’s History magazine.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, which was named as one of the top ten books on food of 2017 by the Smithsonian Magazine. She is currently working on The History of Sugar lecture series for The Great Courses, which will be released this summer on Audible.

It’s the Bee’s Knees! Salem in the Roaring Twenties
Main Gallery Exhibit:  Ongoing

The Salem Museum takes a look back at life in our hometown a century ago with a new main gallery feature exhibit. The exhibit includes personal stories, artifacts, and photographs that explore everyday life—and the nightlife—of the Roaring Twenties. Icons of the decade are also included: a still that produced a lot of moonshine in the ‘20s and several flamboyant flapper dresses from the Museum’s collection. Read more…