Events & Activities

Salem Museum Speaker Series: Protecting the lands and waters we love

The Roanoke Valley is situated in a region of great natural beauty, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The Blue Ridge Land Conservancy (BRLC) is working to ensure that the landscapes we love will be here to be enjoyed by generations to come. On Thursday, June 8 at 7 pm at the Salem Museum, David Perry of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy will describe the organization’s work to forever protect the lands and waters that make such a difference in our quality of life.

Founded in 1996, BRLC serves the greater Roanoke region, working with local landowners to conserve farms, forests, mountaintops, waterways and scenic views. Over the last nearly three decades, BRLC has permanently protected iconic local landmarks such as Mill Mountain and Carvins Cove, provided fun weekend outings for families, and educated thousands of local schoolchildren.

David Perry has been executive director of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy since 2012. He chairs the Roanoke Kiwanis Club’s environment committee and is a board member of Virginia’s United Land Trusts. David has a BS in geography from James Madison University and an MS in park and resource management from Slippery Rock University.

May Speaker Series Talk and Documentary: The History of the Enslaved People at Roanoke College

Through the Center for Studying Structures of Race, a team of Roanoke College faculty and student researchers led by College Historian Dr. Jesse Bucher, are learning more about the contribution enslaved people made to the College’s founding and early development. Six student researchers worked to identify the names and life histories of enslaved people who lived and worked in this region between ca. 1840 and 1865. Their research led to the identification of more than 2,500 enslaved men, women, and children in Roanoke County. Dr. Bucher’s presentation included a short documentary by the project team that describes their findings, as well as the emotions and revelations they experienced in the course of their research.

March Speaker Series Talk: The Roanoke Valley in the 1940s

The 1940s were tumultuous and life-changing, full of joys and sorrows, uncertainty and hope. Noted local historian Nelson Harris has collected stories of events from this fascinating decade in his most recent book, The Roanoke Valley in the 1940s. In a six-year effort, the Rev. Harris has meticulously documented the history of the Roanoke Valley from 1940-1949.  By searching every edition of The Roanoke Times between January 1, 1940, and January 1, 1950, Nelson Harris gleaned all things noteworthy for the decade—in sports, business, religion, entertainment, civil rights, politics, municipal projects, disasters, crime, and medicine—plus an assortment of the odd and unusual. The recording is here on YouTube. The first half is audio only. The second half includes the video.

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!