Events & Activities

Civil War Saturdays return!
August 11, 10 am to 4 pm

This year, the Salem Museum and Historical Society will be hosting our second Annual Civil War Saturdays.  The events are free to the public.

August 11 all day: Southern Supply Depot, Civilian and Military Living History Re-enactors. Talk and Book signing at 11 am: Unreconstructed: Jubal Early and Franklin County, Virginia, presented by Tom Perry. Film at 1 pm: Chickamauga! High Tide in the West.

Richfield Living & Salem Museum’s Free Summer Series!
August 15 and September 19 at noon

Richfield Living and the Salem Museum are partnering  to host a summer presentation series with a complimentary lunch included! All events are free and open to the public, but please call Scotti Hartman at 540-390-6555 to reserve your place. The sessions will be held in the Alleghany Room at The Oaks at Richfield Living.

  • August 15: general Salem history featuring  Richfield Living
  • September 19: History of Salem Historical Society.

Salem Museum Speaker Series
Brothers in Arms: J. E. B. Stuart and His Brothers in the Civil War
Monday, August 20 at 7 pm

Historian Thomas D. Perry, a widely recognized authority on General J. E. B. Stuart, will speak on the role Stuart and his brothers played in the Civil War. Perry is the author and publisher of over forty books on history in the region around his home, Patrick County. He graduated from Patrick County High School in 1979—where he subsequently taught eleventh grade Civil War history for ten years—and Virginia Tech in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He speaks all over the country on topics as far ranging as Andy Griffith to J. E. B. Stuart and was a featured presenter at the Virginia Festival of the Book in 2012.

Perry founded the J. E. B. Stuart Birthplace in 1990. The non-profit organization has preserved 75 acres of the Stuart property including the house site where J. E. B. Stuart was born. He has begun a collection of papers relating to Stuart and Patrick County history in the Special Collections Department of the Carol M. Newman Library at Virginia Tech under the auspices of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He is also at work on a three volume projected titled The Papers of J. E. B. Stuart.

Mary Draper Ingles Bus Trip to Radford
Friday, September 7
Bus leaves promptly at 9 am, returns around 5 pm

Come join us on this special trip to learn more about Mary Draper Ingles and her incredible 500-mile journey through untamed wilderness. Plus more about her life on the New River after her return in 1755! We begin our day with a look at a statue of Mary Draper Ingles. From there, we will visit nearby Glencoe Mansion and Museum. After about an hour at the Museum we will be treated to a delicious  lunch at Sal’s (included). We will end our day in Radford with a visit to Ingles Farm. The price is $52 for members and $57 for non-members and includes transportation, lunch, entrance donations and driver gratuity. Space is limited to 24 participants.

Members Fall Kick-Off Potluck Picnic
Monday, September 10 at 6 pm

Members are invited to join us for our annual picnic, a fun opportunity to get together after the summer vacation season winds down! Fried chicken and beverages will be provided. Please bring a dish to share.

Salem Museum Speaker Series
Salem and the Iron Horse
Monday, September 17 at 7 pm

The Iron Horse, as railroads were called, came to the tiny village of Big Lick, Virginia in 1881 due to a combination of citizen effort and sheer good luck. The railroad launched such swift growth that the new town of Roanoke came to be known as the Magic City. Ever since, however, a rumor has persisted that the much older town of Salem was content to be a sleepy hamlet, and didn’t want the railroad with its noise, ash, and commotion. By delving into the real story, historian John R. Hildebrand will explain why nothing could have been further from the truth. Salem tried hard, not once but twice—even putting a locomotive on the town seal—but unlike in Roanoke, the luck ran against them.

John R. Hildebrand is a civil engineering graduate of Virginia Tech. His civil engineering career spanned more than 40 years and involved many highway, airport, railroad, and rapid transit projects. His engineering background and interest in the history of the Shenandoah Valley and southwest Virginia led to his research into the early histories of the Valley and Shenandoah Valley Railroads. Mr. Hildebrand is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil War Engineers and the author of Iron Horses in the Valley: The Valley and Shenandoah Valley Railroads, 1866-1882; The Life and Times of John Brown Baldwin, 1820-1873: A Chronicle of Virginia’s Struggle with Slavery, Secession, Civil War, and Reconstruction; and  A Mennonite Journal, A Father’s Account of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, 1862-1865.

He has also contributed articles to the Proceedings of the Rockbridge County Historical Society, the Journal of the Historical Society of Western Virginia and most recently, an article for the Smithfield Review, True Friends of the Confederacy, the story of those members of the Second Confederate Congress who proposed negotiations with the Lincoln administration to reconstruct the Union. A special project was an article for Air Power History, a periodical published quarterly by the Air Force Historical Foundation. The essay was a history of the Army Air Corps communications station located at Naples, Italy from 1943 until 1947, a unit in which he served in 1946. He has also written two family histories, The Shank and Jeter Families of Salem, Virginia and The Hildebrands of the Barren Ridge.

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.

Salem Museum Speaker Series
The Surprising Role of Virginians in the Great War
Annual Meeting: November 19 at 6:30 pm
Talk: November 19 at 7 pm

In this illustrated lecture, Lynn Rainville reveals the crucial roles that Virginians played in the Great War. These individuals ranged from soldiers to politicians, and from locally born horses to their ferriers. These patriots also included female stenographers, African American doctors, domestic gardeners, National Guard troops, and army chaplains. Of these hundreds of thousands of volunteers, more than 3,600 lost their lives as a direct result of the war, yet many of their sacrifices have been forgotten. Rainville will conclude her talk with a study of statues erected in Virginia after the war to reveal a more complete story of service and sacrifice during the Great War.

Dr. Lynn Rainville is Acting Dean of Sweet Briar College, the Director of the Tusculum Institute and a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She is the author of Hidden History: African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia and Virginia and the Great War: Mobilization, Supply and Combat, 1914–1919.