Events & Activities

Salem Museum Speaker Series:  In the Fight for Freedom
Monday, May 20 at 7 pm

Lee Hadden will share the stories of three largely unknown men from Salem who joined the army to fight in the Civil War. The three—Larkin Burwell, William Keaton, and Ellis Kile—were slaves who fled Salem, but ultimately returned after the war. They are buried in Salem’s East Hill North Cemetery, a cemetery established for African Americans in 1869, located on the hill behind the Salem Museum. On Saturday, May 25 at 10 am, Hadden and other members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will dedicate new markers for Burwell and Keaton. Both the talk and the dedication ceremony are free and open to the public.

Larkin Burwell was a private in the 127th US Colored Troops. He was born a slave near Fincastle, and in 1864 he ran away, joined the US Army in West Virginia. He was present at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia in the spring of 1864, and at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Corporal William Keaton was also born a slave. He ran away and joined the Union Army, enlisting in the 43rd US Colored Troops. The 43rd was involved with intense fighting during the battle of the Crater. Keaton returned to his home in Salem, and after the war became a janitor at a local school. He was popular with the students, many of them children and grandchildren of Confederate veterans, who marveled at his stories about the war from the Union point of view.

Lee Hadden has ancestors on both sides of the Civil War. He is a retired science research and map librarian from the US Army Corps of Engineers at Ft. Belvoir, VA. Before that, he worked with the US Geological Survey, the Department of Defense (Philippines), the Department of the Army (South Korea), and the US Army Ballistic Research Laboratory (Maryland).

Up in Flames: Fighting Fire in Salem
Opening Day Special Event: June 1, 10 am to 4 pm
Exhibit continues through August 31

This summer, the Salem Museum is featuring a special exhibit to celebrate Salem’s firefighters. Up in Flames: Fighting Fire in Salem will showcase both the Salem Fire-EMS Department and the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Salem office. Saturday, June 1  is Firefighter Day at the Salem Museum! Tour a fire truck, meet firefighters, and learn how to prevent fires. Smokey Bear and Sparky will be on hand, too!

The exhibit and opening day event are made possible by the City of Salem Fire-EMS Department; the Virginia Department of Forestry; Firehouse Subs, W. Main St, Salem; and Roger Rakes: Allstate Insurance.

Salem’s firefighters have long struggled to save life and property from structural fires and wildfires. This interactive, family-friendly exhibit will explore the history of the Salem Fire Department—from the first bucket brigades to today’s modern fire trucks—along with some of the homes and other structures that have caught fire throughout Salem’s history. Aspiring firefighters can try on the gear that firefighters wear to keep them safe in the worst situations.

The Salem Fire-EMS Department dates back to 1854. The exhibit will share the department’s history as well as the advances in fire-fighting equipment technology. Significant fires from Salem’s past, such as Longwood Mansion and Salem High School, will be included.

The exhibit also documents the changes that the Virginia Department of Forestry, with its office in Salem, has undergone over the years. Rangers no longer wait in towers scanning the horizon for smoke in the forests surrounding Salem. Techniques and technology to detect and battle wildfires have become increasingly sophisticated. Smokey Bear, the national mascot for wildfire prevention, is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and is also featured.

Salem Museum Speaker Series: Historic Preservation at Black Dog Salvage
Monday, June 17 at 7 pm

Since 1999, Black Dog Salvage has been saving Southwestern Virginia’s architectural history, one house part at a time. On June 17 at 7 pm at the Salem Museum, Black Dog Salvage president and co-owner Robert Kulp, Jr. will speak about what it takes to reclaim, reuse, and repurpose architectural salvage that would otherwise be lost forever. The talk is free and open to the public.

Black Dog Salvage makes it their mission to discover the remarkable pieces of America’s past that are hidden inside old, endangered structures. These vintage pieces include everything from old house parts to industrial relics. Once these artifacts are secured, the team creatively transforms them into a wide range of architectural and decorative elements. These pieces see new life in the restoration of other historic buildings, or in adding character to newer structures. Since 2012, the wildly-popular television show Salvage Dawgs, on Discovery’s DIY Network has chronicled the adventures and creativity of Black Dog Salvage and introduced this Roanoke based business to an international audience.

Robert Kulp’s background has uniquely prepared him for success as the president and resident “architecturologist” of Black Dog Salvage, and as the co-host of Salvage Dawgs. Kulp received his B.S. in Building Construction from Virginia Tech in 1985, is a former U.S. Naval Officer, and is a Virginia Class A General Contractor.  His construction company, Blue Ridge Residential, offers design and building services for “new” old houses, period restorations, and sympathetic additions. His knowledge of how buildings are put together has proved crucial in safely deconstructing and saving architectural details from the landfill.

About Black Dog Salvage and Salvage Dawgs: Black Dog Salvage occupies a 40,000 square warehouse next to the Memorial Bridge near Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia. The business has grown into an interior design showroom featuring architectural details, custom upcycled designs, furniture paint, regional artisans, and salvage inspired furniture. Black Dog Salvage is located at 902 13th Street SW, Roanoke, VA 24016. Store Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 11am-4pm. Salvage Dawgs, now filming its 11th season, is co-produced by Trailblazer Studios and Figure 8 Films and airs nationally on the DIY Network and Great American Country. Episodes are also available on iTunes and Amazon.