Events & Activities

Salem Museum Speaker Series
Before Salem: the Town Virginia Indians Called Home
Monday, May 21 at 7 pm

Hundreds of years before Salem became a town, another people had established a town here along the banks of the Roanoke River. They called themselves the Yesa, but they are better remembered today by the name given them in the 1600s by European explorers: the Tutelo. These Virginia Indians were a clan that was part of the Monacan Indian Nation which has recently received federal recognition. Victoria Ferguson, a member of the Monacan Indian Nation, will describe the culture, traditions, and technologies of her ancestors, and share what happened to the Tutelo after they left this region.

Ferguson is the Director of the Monacan Indian Living History Exhibit at Natural Bridge, a reconstruction of a small-scale Monacan Indian town. Skilled historical interpreters— including Ferguson—give guests a greater appreciation for the cultures of Virginia Indians through demonstrations of traditional activities such as cooking, basket weaving, building, and tool production.

The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War
Exhibit Opening Saturday, June 16

This November marks a century since the end of WWI. Salem distinguished itself in its war service, but also paid a heavy sacrifice on the battlefield and on the home front. The outcome of this war continues to affect us today, while the war itself is slipping into obscurity. Learn more about what Salem residents endured during WWI with the Salem Museum’s new exhibit, The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War.

The exhibit features interactive designs, firsthand accounts, dramatic photographs, and never before seen artifacts, including a number of items on loan from the extensive collection of Dr. Lee Anthony, a historian whose father served in WWI in the 80th Infantry Division. A short film, produced by Chloe Shelton in partnership with the Grandin Film Lab, provides insights into the war experience and eventual fate of an actual soldier from Salem through his letters home. The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War exhibit opens June 16 and runs through February, 2019.

Over The Top: The Great War Living History Day
Saturday, June 16, 10 am to 4 pm

The Salem Museum brings the events of 100 years ago to life on WWI Living History Day on June 16. The event features re-enactors portraying soldiers from the United States and Europe. Learn about their equipment, munitions, and the circumstances under which they lived and fought. Dr. Lee Anthony, WWI historian and retired Roanoke College professor, will be on hand to answer questions and describe the efforts of the storied 80th Infantry Division. Automobiles from the WWI-era will set the scene. Children will have the opportunity to meet the re-enactors and make their own dog tags.

Salem Museum Speaker Series
Stories from the Great War:
VPI Men in the Service of their Country, 1917-1918
Monday, June 18 at 7 pm

Major Lloyd Williams, a 1907 VPI alumnus who was in the Marine Corps in World War I. On June 12, 1918 he became the first Virginian and the first VPI alumnus to die in the Great War. Photo courtesy of Daniel Newcomb.

Between April 1917 and November 1918, over 1,000 students and alumni from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI, now Virginia Tech) served their country during World War One. This talk presented by Daniel Newcomb will tell the story of America’s role in the Great War through the experiences of those VPI men who fought for their country on the battlefields of the Western Front.

VPI men were among the first American soldiers to arrive in France in the summer of 1918. During the war, VPI men fought in all three major American offensives on the Western Front in France- the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne. With American Expeditionary Forces taking a leading role, these three offensives effectively brought an end to World War One.

Daniel Newcomb is a WWI scholar and Virginia Tech alumnus, receiving his BA in History in 2013, and two MAs in 2017 in History and Social Studies Education. He is the creator of Roanoke Valley in the Great War, which includes the names of over 3,000 men from the Roanoke Valley region who served in World War I, and the co-creator of VPI in World War I,  dedicated to researching the lives of over 1,000 Virginia Tech World War I veterans. He has also published a paper in this year’s Smithfield Review about how WWI brought about institutional changes at VPI. Mr. Newcomb currently works for the Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education as an Academic and Career Advisor.

Celebrate Salem! Community Art Show
July 14 through September 6

The Salem Museum announces a new Community Art Show to celebrate Salem! Open to artists of all ages and from anywhere, artwork must depict a Salem person, place or thing. The art show and prizes, including a People’s Choice Award, are sponsored by Bill and Ellen Arnold. Artists can register and drop off art on Friday and Saturday, July 6-7, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Artwork must be picked up on Friday and Saturday, September 7-8 from 10 am to 4 pm. All art, both 2-D and 3-D, must be the artist’s own original work and ready to display. Check back for more details about the art show and registration requirements.

The Ghost Walk returns for its 19th year!
October 4-6 at East Hill Cemetery
October 11-13 at Sherwood Memorial Park

Mark your calendars for the Salem Museum’s most popular annual event, The Ghost Walk. Visit Salem’s cemeteries to meet real characters from Salem’s past!

Deadline to Order Brick Pavers for Engraving for the Holidays
Friday, November 2

Engraved brick pavers create a lasting legacy. Add your name, or the name of someone special to you in our Main Walkway or Veterans’ Plaza. Each engraved brick paver is $150, which includes the cost of the paver, the engraving, and a donation to the Salem Museum & Historical Society. Your gift ensures that both your legacy—and our community’s rich history—are preserved for future generations. Download a form to place your order.