Events & Activities

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Through Their Eyes

The Moments That Made Salem and Shaped the Roanoke Valley

New Gallery Opening and Living History Day at the Salem Museum: Saturday, March 25, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is Free.

Announcing Through Their Eyes, a new permanent History Gallery at the Salem Museum, opening March 25. Over a year in the making, this Gallery highlights sixteen major events, dating back to 1671, that have shaped Salem and the Roanoke Valley into the community it is today. History gets personal as seen ‘through the eyes’ of men and women who lived here at the time. Visitors will experience the emotional, life-changing impact of each of these events—including the coming of the railroad, the end of the Civil War, desegregation, the Flood of ’85, and so many more. The Gallery features personal narratives, pictures, maps, artifacts, hands-on elements, and augmented reality technology accessible with a visitor’s smart phone.

On March 25: Gallery Opening and Living History Day

To celebrate the opening of Through Their Eyes, the Salem Museum is hosting a Living History Day on Saturday, March 25, from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. Learn how life in the Roanoke Valley has changed in the past 350 years.  Two dozen costumed interpreters representing the 17th through the 20th centuries will bring the region’s history to life. Meet men and women who will share stories and hands-on artifacts from the Virginia Indians in this area as well as individuals from the Colonial period, the Civil War, the World Wars, and more.  Living history events—with hands-on artifacts and the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable historians in period costume—are always the Museum’s most popular special events, and most family friendly.

“The Gallery is really special because it gives us a chance to put a face to history,” said Alex Burke, the Museum’s assistant director and chief exhibit designer, “Often, events that happened a long time ago are hard to really grasp, because it’s hard to imagine what life was like for those people. By having a character chronicle each event, visitors experience the feelings and significance associated with these moments, truly bringing these events alive.”

Major funding for Through Their Eyes was provided by Community Catalyst Funds of Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan (SHARP) Initiative. The augmented reality segments were developed in partnership with the Applied Research in Immersive Environments and Simulations program at Virginia Tech.

February Speaker Series Talk–The heroic story of D-Day veteran, William Dabney

“I wasn’t afraid of the D-Day Invasion, but I didn’t think I’d come out alive.” If you missed Forest Jones’ talk about William Dabney, D-Day vet, the link to watch the recording is here on YouTube:

This talk was based on Jones’ award-winning essay about Mr. Dabney.

January Speaker Series Talk–Taking the Waters: The Restoration of the Warm Springs Pools

After years of sustained advocacy efforts at the grassroots and state level, the historic Warm Springs Pools reopened for public bathing in December. Watch the talk on YouTube.

Hands-On History Saturdays

Join us each week for Hands-on History Saturdays! On Saturdays from 10-4, visitors will get the chance to pull on curators’ gloves and hold a piece of history in their hands. Come see, up close, artifacts that are not often on display. A new theme every month!