Events & Activities

Mask requirements are subject to change based on CDC guidelines. At this time, masks are optional.

Hands-On History Saturdays: Artifacts from WWI

Join us each week for Hands-on History Saturdays! Every Saturday 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!

This month, we feature artifacts from WWI on Saturdays in November. In addition, Garrett Channell, our Director of Education and Archives, will be taking WWI artifacts  to performances of Nutcracker 1918 presented by Westover Ballet on December 16-17 at the Pulaski Theatre.

Hands on History in November is sponsored by the Nina and Ray Byrd family.  


Gingerbread Festival (in Longwood Park) and Gingerbread House Competition (at the Salem Museum): December 3, 10 am to 2 pm

The Gingerbread Festival is a Roanoke Valley Holiday Tradition! This family-friendly event features a Gingerbread House Competition at the Salem Museum, and holiday vendors, marshmallow roast, gingerbread cookie decorating, and entertainment in Longwood Park. Don’t forget visits with Santa! Admission is free. Check here for more information.

Beat the crowds! Preview the Gingerbread creations starting November 29.

Gingerbread House Competition Rules:

  • Your creation doesn’t have to be a house.
  • Bring your completed Gingerbread House Entry Form
  • There are categories for amateur bakers of all ages, plus a category for professional chefs. Prizes will be awarded in every category, as well as a People’s Choice Award.
  • Each entry must be constructed of edible materials ONLY. Creations that include non-edible construction materials will NOT be eligible for awards.
  • For a sturdy dough recipe, google “gingerbread structural dough recipe.”  You can skip the vanilla and spices, and substitute Crisco for the butter to make the project less expensive.
  • Base cannot be larger than 20” x 20”
  • Entries must be delivered to the Salem Museum on November 22-23 or 25-26 between 10 am and 4 pm. Entries may be picked up after 2pm on December 3, and must be picked up by December 10. The Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm.
  • The Salem Museum is not responsible for collapses or other damage to the gingerbread creations.

Upcoming Events for the Holidays!

Thanksgiving Day: the Museum will be closed Thursday, November 24.

Our popular American Flyer Christmas Train returns! With two tracks and multiple trains, this is our biggest layout yet! Our Christmas Train will be running by November 26.

Home Alive in ‘45: a WWII Christmas Celebration. With the most destructive conflict in human history having ended just a few months earlier, the holiday season of 1945 was particularly joyful. Visitors will experience how Christmas was celebrated during wartime with period music, decorations, cards, and soldiers’ gifts. The display will include souvenirs and captured war trophies brought back by the victorious troops. Presented by the 24th Virginia Infantry Living Historians. Saturday, December 17.