Salem Museum

801 E Main St, Salem, VA 24153 - United States




Free Everyday

The Salem Museum is larger than it looks, with exhibits on five floors. At the heart of the Museum is the 1845 Williams-Brown House, which was originally situated along the Great Wagon Road. Exhibits trace Salem’s history from early Virginia Indian settlements and Salem’s founding in 1802, to Salem’s involvement in the Civil War and through the twentieth century.

The Museum’s Gift Shop features local crafts and hard-to-find books of regional interest. Enter the Museum through a formal herb garden. Adjacent are two cemeteries dating back to the late 1800s, picnic areas and a playground where children can run off steam.


Main Gallery Feature Exhibit BOOM! Salem After WWII
When victory was announced in 1945, all of Salem erupted with joy. Impromptu parades took place along Main Street, culminating in celebratory programs held at Municipal Field. A similar set of events, took place in 1952 when Salem celebrated its 150th anniversary. The whole town turned out for parades, historical performances featuring a cast of 500, and other activities that lasted for a week. In between, Salem experienced a baby boom and a surge in students, growing demand for suburban housing, and a wide range of consumer goods available once more. New businesses opened and expanded up and down Main Street and all through the town. The exhibit opens with a display of weapons and equipment that soldiers brought home from the war. Some notable figures from Salem’s history are featured: Brigadier General Guy Denit, who witnessed the Japanese surrender; 12-year-old Russell Gwaltney, national marbles champion; authors Elizabeth Gresham and Alfreda Marion Peel; Frank Chapman, Sr., town manager; and actor John Payne, the star of Miracle on 34th Street.

Indians and Tutelo Town; European Settlers; Colonial Heroes—William Fleming and Andrew Lewis; Salem is Founded
A Brown House Parlor
Salem and the Civil War
Costumed Dolls from the Ballard Collection
History in Oak Frames: Courthouse Portraits of 1910
Lakeside: Sixty Summers of Ups and Downs
Small Town to Biggs City: The Hometown Art of Walter Biggs\
Salem and the Flood of 1985
A Winning Tradition: Salem Champions Gallery
Curiosities from Salem Attics

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