Events & Activities

Speaker Series: What is Public History?
January 21 at 7 pm

Join us as Dr. Gregory Samantha Rosenthal describes the field of public history and how it has changed from its origins in the 1970s to what it is today. Dr. Rosenthal will speak about the importance of public history and discuss several projects conducted with Roanoke College public history students, including projects focused on local African American history and local LGBTQ history. Public history methods employed in these projects included oral history, digital mapping and web design, walking tours, and material cultural analysis.

Dr. Rosenthal is a member of the Museum’s Board of Directors, and Assistant Professor of History at Roanoke College and coordinator of the college’s Public History concentration. Dr. Rosenthal has an M.A. in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany and a Ph.D. in History from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. As a public historian, they have worked as education director at a historic house museum; as a park ranger for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; and as a professional walking tour guide in Manhattan with Big Onion Walking Tours. They are the author of Beyond Hawai’i: Native Labor in the Pacific World, from the University of California Press, and are currently working on a new book about the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project and the history of LGBTQ communities in Roanoke, Virginia.

Christmas Toys, Christmas Train!
Through January 26

Holiday fun and whimsy! Our American Flyer layout will take you back to the 1950s and 60s, to the golden age of “Plasticville.” Its citizens are busy getting ready for Christmas! Come see their decorations and everything that’s going on. Kids can blow the horn AND play with a 1960s stable and century-old dollhouse located in the same room!

Speaker Series: The North Broad Street Historic District
February 18 at 7 pm

A historic district designation is a way to recognize and celebrate a neighborhood’s long and significant history. Four blocks of North Broad Street were added to the Virginia Landmarks Register in June, 2018, becoming the first—but hopefully not the last— historic residential district in Salem to be recognized. On Monday, February 18 at 7 pm, Benjamin W. Tripp, AICP, will describe Salem’s historic districts including both the designation process and the benefits to property owners and to the city. Tripp is the City of Salem’s City Planner in the Department of Community Development and has been integrally involved in these efforts. The talk is free and open to the public

The North Broad Street Historic District includes a concentration of some of the earliest, most distinguished, and best preserved historic houses in the City of Salem. The district, with its 39 contributing residential properties, exemplifies the economic prosperity that began in Salem starting in the 1880s and continuing through about 1950. Due to its proximity to Main Street—Salem’s commercial, religious, and civic hub—North Broad Street was often the first residential area to benefit from infrastructure improvements such as paved streets, sidewalks, and electricity. Homes in the district represent the full spectrum of popular architectural styles of the period, including Second Empire, Italianate, Queen Anne, Stick, Folk Victorian, Classical Revival, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, and Minimal Traditional. The Downtown Salem Historic District, which received its historic designation in 1996, borders the North Broad Street Historic District.

If This Place Could Talk: the Destroyed Village of Vauquois
Through March 2, 2019

Watch Logan Sherrill of WDBJ-7 try out the virtual tour of the tunnels at Vauquois!

The virtual reality experience, If This Place Could Talk: the Destroyed Village of Vauquois, is a project funded by Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) which involved team members from the School of Education, the School of Visual Arts, University Libraries, the Department of History, and the Department of Mining Engineering.  The team explored and mapped actual WWI tunnels constructed by French and German soldiers beneath the village of Vauquois, near Verdun, France. The immersive experience will take visitors into those tunnels to impart a sense of what life was like for the soldiers who were part of that terrible period in world history.

The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War
Through March 2, 2019

Salem’s WWI Homecoming Parade

A century ago, Salem like other communities, was shaken by the world’s Great War—WWI—and called to sacrifice on the battlefield and home front. The Salem Museum’s current featured exhibit, The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War includes displays of artifacts on loan from the collection of Dr. Lee Anthony whose father served in WWI. A short film, Till I Come Home directed by Chloe Shelton of the Grandin Theatre Film Lab, provides insights into the wartime experience of an actual Salem soldier through his letters home. Ms. Shelton recently won an award for Heritage Education from the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation for Till I Come Home and her upcoming film, Cotton Clouds. The film and exhibit are generously supported by John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home and Crematory in Salem and will be on display through March 2, 2019.

Glenvar High School and Middle School Student Art Show
March 12 through April 6

Student work includes a variety of 2D and 3D art. Join these talented students for the Opening Reception on March 12!