Salem Museum in Salem, Virginia

Preserving 300+ years of history, arts, and culture in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

The Salem Fair returns June 29-July 10! Visit the Salem Museum to get your collectible Salem Fair ornament!

From the smell of funnel cakes to the sounds of children’s joyful squeals, there is nothing more nostalgic than going to The Salem Fair!  Hosted by the City of Salem, the Fair is held each year at the Salem Civic Center.  Admission to the Fair is free, and while there are charges for rides and food, the Fair generously gives back to the community each year by donating part of its proceeds to local homeless shelters and food pantries. 

The Fair has a lot to offer, with more than 40 rides, including the iconic Ferris wheel; a variety of live attractions, like the popular racing pigs; musical performances; food, arts, and crafts competitions for coveted blue ribbon prizes; and a fireworks show on the Fourth of July.  There is always something for everyone at the Salem Fair!  READ MORE…

Cheers for 30 Years! Celebrating the Salem Museum’s 30th Anniversary

Free and family-friendly!

After years of dreaming and hard work, the Salem Museum opened in the historic Williams-Brown House on June 27, 1992. The Museum is celebrating its 30th Anniversary with a feature exhibit that takes a look back at artifacts and stories now preserved in the Museum’s collections. Admission is free.

Some favorite—but rarely seen—objects appear in this eclectic display, including: READ MORE…

Historic Gainsboro Talk and Tour

During segregation, Roanoke’s Gainsboro neighborhood was a thriving African American community. Its residents, businesses, medical facilities, churches, school, and more created a vibrant, self-sufficient center of Black culture and commerce. In the 1950s, “Urban Renewal” decimated the city’s Black neighborhoods, but many important commercial and institutional buildings, as well as private homes, still remain. READ MORE…

Salem Museum Speaker Series
Jim Crow and Southern Libraries: The Story of the Gainsboro Branch Library
Thursday, July 14 at 7 pm

Gainsboro Librarian Virginia Y. Lee

The Gainsboro Branch Library was Roanoke’s first public library for Blacks. Branch manager Megan Mizak will explore the history of the library, from its founding by community leaders through the tenure of its most beloved librarian, Virginia Y. Lee (pictured). Mizak has curated and preserved the library’s Virginia Y. Lee Collection, with its rare books, historical documents, photographs, and reference materials that focus on African American history in the Roanoke Valley. This talk will be in-person at the Salem Museum and on Zoom. The link will be available on the Museum’s website on the morning of the talk.

Walking Tour of Historic Gainsboro
Saturday, July 16. The tour departs at 10 am from the Gainsboro Branch Library, 15 Patton Ave NE,
Roanoke Jordan Bell will share details of historic sites and structures in the historic neighborhood, as well as the many notable individuals who have lived there. $10 for adults and youth (age 15 and up), payable to Bell on-site before the start of the tour. Children (14 and younger) are free and very welcome. The two-hour tour is cancelled in case of rain. Bell is a Gainsboro resident, community activist, Roanoke City Schools teacher, and historian.


Open Tuesdays — Saturdays, 10 am to 4 pm.

Closed on July 4; Thanksgiving; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas; New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and the day after New Years.

If the City of Salem Schools are closed for inclement weather, the Museum does not open.


Located next to Longwood Park in Downtown Salem
801 East Main Street
Salem, Virginia 24153

From I-81, take exit 140 and head toward Salem on Thompson Memorial Blvd. At Main Street (US 460), turn left. Go .3 mile; the Salem Museum is located at the top of the hill on the left. Our entrance is across from the Berglund Ford service entrance. Look for the “OAKEY FIELD COMPLEX” sign. There is plenty of free, on-site parking.


Admission is FREE for all self-guided visitors and City of Salem school groups.

Guided tours ($5 per person, and $3 per student for educational groups) are available when booked at least two weeks in advance.

The Salem Museum & Historical Society is an independent nonprofit organization preserving and celebrating the history of Salem, Virginia, founded in 1802, as well as the surrounding areas.