Inclement Weather Policy
The Museum closes if Salem City Schools are closed. Check here for closing information.
Salem Museum Speaker Series:
William Fleming, Colonial Hero: His Sword and Story
Talk by Pamela Draper and Caroline Wehner
Monday, February 19 at 7pm
Generously sponsored by RICHFIELD
The Nancy Christian Fleming Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution holds custody of two rare and significant artifacts of Southwest Virginia’s Colonial-era history: the battle sword of Colonel William Fleming and a delicate needlework sampler stitched by his wife, Nancy Christian Fleming. Both objects date to the mid-1700s. On Monday, February 19 at 7pm, the Chapter will present the sword and sampler to the Salem Museum & Historical Society. Both objects will be on loan to the Salem Museum, and displayed in an exhibit that includes the story of Fleming’s friend, General Andrew Lewis.
The program includes a talk by Pamela Draper, Chapter Historian, and Caroline Wehner, the Chapter’s Regent, about the life and impact of Colonel William Fleming. Born and educated as a doctor in Scotland, Fleming immigrated to Virginia in 1755 and became a noted physician and statesman. He served as a surgeon attached to George Washington’s Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War (1754—1763), and was later wounded leading the Botetourt County militia at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. These injuries prevented him from serving in the military during the Revolutionary War. Instead, Fleming served in the Senate of Virginia and briefly as Virginia’s acting governor. His final public service was as a delegate to the 1788 convention which ratified the U.S. Constitution. Today, one of Roanoke City’s two public high schools is named for William Fleming, while Salem has a middle school named after Andrew Lewis.
Refreshments will be served, provided by the Fort Lewis Chapter DAR. The event is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated!
Colonial Living History Day: Heroes and Homemakers
Saturday, February 24, 10 am to 4 pm
In Partnership with Historic Smithfield
Generously sponsored by RICHFIELD
Learn about the men and women who built a life on Virginia’s frontier and who are remembered for their heroic deeds. Costumed interpreters and demonstrators from Historic Smithfield and others will visit the Salem Museum to immerse Museum guests in what life was like in Western Virginia in Colonial times.
Meet a bullet maker, a spinner, a blacksmith and a lace weaver, among others, and watch what it takes to hand-sew a colonial dress. Re-enactors will set up a Revolutionary War encampment to demonstrate what soldiers endured in their fight for Independence. British soldiers will be on hand, too. Children can play some of the games that children played in those simpler times.
At 12:30, Colonel Lewis Ingles “Bud” Jeffries, a historian and direct descendant of Mary Draper Ingles, will tell the story of this important Western Virginia heroine. Mary and her husband William had settled in an area now part of the campus of Virginia Tech. Mary was abducted by the Shawnee during the 1755 Draper’s Meadow Massacre, along with her two young sons. They were taken to a Shawnee settlement on the Ohio River in Northeast Kentucky. After a few months, Mary escaped, but before her stretched a strenuous journey on foot of more than 500 miles through territory unknown to her.
At 2:30, April Danner, Director of Historic Smithfield, will speak on the relationship between Colonel Fleming and Colonel William Preston. A leader of westward expansion and a prominent Western Virginia Revolutionary War patriot, William Preston settled in present-day Blacksburg and established Smithfield as his home. He was elected to the Virginia colony’s House of Burgesses in 1765. He served in both the French and Indian War and American Revolutionary War and is credited with saving George Washington’s life. He also aided in the fight against Lord Cornwallis and the British in the Carolinas. Preston’s descendants include governors, senators, presidential cabinet members, university founders and presidents, and military leaders.
Colonel William Fleming’s battle sword will be on display, along with an updated exhibit about Salem’s General Andrew Lewis. Lewis is remembered for leading his troops to victory in the French and Indian War and Dunmore’s War, and driving Lord Dunmore—the last British Governor—out of Virginia just days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, making it one of the first military actions of the Revolutionary War.
The Fort Lewis Chapter DAR will have a display as part of the day’s events. The Colonial Living History Day is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated!
Salem Museum Speaker Series:
A History of Back Creek: Bent Mountain, Poages Mill, Cave Spring and Starkey
Talk and book-signing by the Rev. Nelson Harris
Monday, March 19 at 7pm
Since Europeans first settled along the banks of Back Creek in the 1740s, southwest Roanoke County’s history has been as fluid as the creek itself. The once dense forest with log cabins gave way to the sprawling suburbs of the present. The colonial-era Trader’s Path that directed Scots-Irish homesteaders, the growth of the apple industry in Bent Mountain after the Civil War, a state highway built by convicts during the Depression and Cave Spring becoming a modern commercial center have shaped the region. The changing picture of daily life in Back Creek spanning two centuries emerges in stories of one-room schoolhouses, doctors on horseback, country stores, local baseball and NASCAR races at Starkey. Local historian Nelson Harris details the eclectic history of the area.
Local historian Nelson Harris is a native and former mayor of Roanoke. He has been the pastor of Heights Community Church since 1999 and is an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Western Community College. He holds degrees from Radford University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a past president of the Historical Society of Western Virginia. He is the author of twelve books, including Downtown Roanoke, Roanoke Valley: Then and Now, Aviation in Roanoke and Hidden History of Roanoke.
Salem High School IB Art Show
Opens March 27 through April 25
Deadline to Order Brick Pavers for Engraving for Spring
Friday, April 20
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.
Glenvar High School Art Show
Opens May 1 through May 24
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!