Upcoming Salem Museum events

The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War

June 16, 2018 through February 26, 2019


The Salem Museum announces the opening of its newest feature exhibit, The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War, on Saturday, June 16 and runs through February 2019. WWI re-enactors will be on hand on for the exhibit’s opening to provide a day full of living history. In addition, WWI experts will present talks about what soldiers experienced and endured in the Great War. Admission to the WWI Exhibit and related events is free.

This coming November marks a century since the end of WWI. The Price We Paid focuses on the wartime experiences of families and soldiers from Salem, but their experience represents the sacrifices made by residents throughout the Roanoke Valley and beyond in the fight for the world’s freedom. Salem distinguished itself in war service, but also paid a heavy price on the battlefield and the home front.

The exhibit features interactive designs, firsthand accounts, dramatic photographs, and never before seen artifacts, including a number of items on loan from the extensive collection of Dr. Lee Anthony, a retired Roanoke College professor and historian whose father served in WWI in the 80th Infantry Division. A short film, directed by Chloe Shelton in partnership with the Grandin Film Lab, provides insights into the war experience and eventual fate of an actual soldier from Salem through his letters home.


Over the Top: The Great War Living History Day

Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


This family-friendly event features re-enactors portraying soldiers from the United States and Europe. Learn about their equipment, munitions, and the circumstances under which they lived and fought. Take a look at WWI-era automobiles and Salem’s German WWI cannon, recently restored and placed at the Museum for this event. There will also be special activities for children.

  • At 11 a.m., Dr. Lee Anthony, WWI historian and retired Roanoke College professor, will describe the efforts of the storied 80th Infantry Division.
  • At 2 p.m., April Danner, WWI/WWII Commemoration Committee Montgomery County Chair, will talk about the war experiences of area soldiers.

The WWI Exhibit and related events are generously sponsored by John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home and Crematory in Salem.


Stories from the Great War:

VPI Men in the Service of their Country, 1917-1918

Salem Museum Speaker Series: Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m.


On Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m., the Salem Museum will present a program about the extraordinary valor of the VPI Men who helped secure the victory in World War One, also known as the Great War. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Between April 1917 and November 1918, over 1,000 students and alumni from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI, now Virginia Tech) served their country during WWI. This talk presented by Daniel Newcomb will tell the story of America’s role in the Great War through the experiences of those VPI men who fought for their country on the battlefields of the Western Front.

Daniel Newcomb is a WWI scholar, Virginia Tech alumnus with degrees in History and Social Studies Education, and a VT employee. He is the creator of Roanoke Valley in the Great War (https://roanokevalleygreatwar.lib.vt.edu/), which includes the names of over 3,000 men from the Roanoke Valley region who served in World War I, and the co-creator of VPI in World War I (https://vpiworldwarone.lib.vt.edu) dedicated to researching the lives of over 1,000 Virginia Tech World War I veterans.


-Submitted by Fran Ferguson, Salem Museum & Historical Society Executive Director


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