Isle of Wight County Museum

Isle of Wight County Museum

103 Main Street, Smithfield, Va.     757-356-1223 10 am-4 pm Mon-Sat & Noon-4 pm Sunday

The Isle of Wight County Museum was founded in 1976 by a group of volunteers dedicated to the preservation of county history. Interpreting local history, the museum’s exhibits include prehistoric fossils, Native American and colonial artifacts, a country store and displays regarding the ham industry and perhaps the museum’s most notable artifact: the world’s oldest, edible cured ham.

2015 Events

Jan. 15. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Animals in winter.

 Jan. 17. Women in the Civil War. 11 a.m. Join us for this discussion of extraordinary women during the Civil War. Held in conjunction with the UDC Chapter #699.

January 25. Weird Weather in Hampton Roads. 1 p.m. Channel 13 Meteorologist Evan Stewart discusses historic weather events and their impact on our area. Bring your umbrella.

Feb. 13. Ghost Hunt. 8 p.m.-midnight. Join RTL Paranormal for a fun-filled evening of paranormal investigation at Windsor Castle. Learn to find and document paranormal activity, understand the nature of energy patterns and how to conduct a successful investigation. Reservations required. $20 per person.

Feb. 19. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Milk bottles.

Feb. 22. From Snake Oil to Penicillin. 1-3 p.m. February is Heart Month. What better way to celebrate than to reflect on a history of cures and treatments throughout history? Our afternoon will showcase patent medicines, a fun workout with a Victorian exercise lady, a Civil War surgeon who amputated his own leg, tips for stretching and health information from Mended Hearts Inc., Virginia Peninsula Chapter 119.

Feb. 28. Everything But the Squeal. 2-4 p.m. Pigs aren’t just for breakfast! You’ll find that pig is everywhere – from beauty products to pharmaceuticals to crayons and paint. Kids are invited to join us for an afternoon of piggy fun. We’ll make a special piggy craft and fabricate our own candles from lard. Geared to children ages 7 to 12. $10 per child. Registration and pre-payment required.

March 7. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

March 14. Ghost Hunt. 8 p.m.-midnight. Join RTL Paranormal for a fun-filled evening of paranormal investigation at the Isle of Wight County Museum. Learn to find and document paranormal activity, understand the nature of energy patterns and how to conduct a successful investigation. Reservations required. $20 per person.

March 19. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Kites.

March 22. 2 p.m. Civil War in Isle of Wight County: An Historical Update. Isle of Wight County has a rich Civil War history. The Isle of Wight County Museum, in conjunction with the Virginia Sesquicentennial initiative, has dug deeper into the Civil War’s impact on the area. Join Curator Tracey Neikirk as she reveals how a torpedo boat in the Pagan almost sank the flagship of the Union fleet and the importance of Fort Boykin’s telegraph to the commanders in Richmond.

April 4. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

April 16. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Scarecrow puppets.

April 17. Home School Day. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Smithfield and Isle of Wight County’s historic sites welcome homeschoolers of all ages with a selection of fun and engaging activities that highlight the history of Virginia and the area.

April 25. History of Canning. 11 a.m. Necessity breeds invention. During the first years of the Napoleonic Wars, the French government offered a cash award of 12,000 francs to any inventor who could devise a cheap and effective method of preserving large amounts of food. Today, based on this success, many of us are still preserving our own food for future consumption. Join us for this informative lecture – plus tips and recipes from the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Bring one of your own canned goods to swap with other attendees!

May 2. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

May 21. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Pigs.

June 6. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

June 12. Cookie Happy Hour. 4-8 p.m. It’s National Peanut Butter Cookie Day. Decompress from the work week, and start your weekend off right with a little history and a sweet treat. The museum is open late!

June 13. Walking Tour Along Church Street. 10:30 a.m. Join us as we venture for a stroll down Church Street to explore the history of this fascinating area.

June 27. Civil War Lecture Series.

  • 10 a.m. Battle of Smithfield. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.
  • Noon. Women in the Civil War. Join us for this discussion of extraordinary women during the Civil War. Hosted by Curator Tracey Neikirk.
  • 2 p.m. Civil War Balloons. Join us for this informative lecture by Kevin Knapp as he portrays Thaddeus Lowe to discuss balloons during the Civil War. Balloons were used for surveillance and reconnaissance during the Civil War by the Union Army from 1861 through 1863 and by Confederate Army in 1862. The North made over 3,000 ascensions with seven balloons and the South made less than 10 ascensions with two. In this presentation you will learn about the first air to ground telegraph, the first field hydrogen generators, the first air directed artillery fire, the first air craft carrier, the first time two opposing forces had aircraft in the air at the same time and the beginning of U.S. Military Aviation.

July 11. Walking Tour Along Church Street. 10:30 a.m. Join us as we venture for a stroll down Church Street to explore the history of this fascinating area.

July 11. The Pet Ham’s 113th Birthday. Noon-2 p.m. The world’s oldest ham turns 113! 113 is a prime number. It’s also the police emergency number in Italy, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Vietnam as well as the name of a French hip hop band. More importantly, 113 is a good excuse for cake. Join us in this annual tribute to the birthday boy, and help us launch our annual Pan Ham contest.

Aug 1. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

Aug. 8. Walking Tour Along Church Street. 10:30 a.m. Join us as we venture for a stroll down Church Street to explore the history of this fascinating area.

Aug. 22. Victory is Ours. 2-4 p.m. Through crafts and hands-on activities, learn how life changed for kids in America during World War II. The subjects of recycling, rationing and victory gardens make this an afternoon of patriotic entertainment. Geared to children ages 7 to 12. $10 per child. Registration and pre-payment required.

Sept. 5. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

Sept. 17. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Apple trees.

Oct 3. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

Oct. 15. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Fall and spiders.

Oct. 23. Fright Night at the Movies. 7 p.m. Mike Holtzclaw, the Daily Press’ very own Roger Ebert, will regale us with clips and trivia about classic Cold War-era monster movies…Attack of the Crab Monsters, Deadly Mantis, It! and Plan 9 from Outer Space….this will be an evening of popcorn, levity and adventure as we give a thumbs up or thumbs down to important and scary moments in film history.

Oct. 30. Ghostwalk. 7-10 p.m. Smithfield has some stories to tell. Are you brave enough to hear them? Join us for a creepy walk around town where we may run into a few friends and foes. You might want to bring a friend. Just in case. $5 per person.

Nov. 7. Battle of Smithfield Walking Tour. 2 p.m. Meet a Union soldier at the museum for a lecture and a walk down Church Street as he details his experiences in this battle.

Nov. 14. Reflecting on the Vietnam War. 2 p.m. As the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and on the day marking the anniversary of the Ia Drang Valley Battle, the museum will host speaker Albert Burckard who will give a brief synopsis of the war and its origins, detail its legacy, discuss some of the misconceptions concerning service in Vietnam and share his experiences in combat in the I Corps region of South Vietnam from 1969 to 1971.

Nov. 15. Pork and Peanuts Through History. 2 p.m. Peanuts and pork have been part of the economy in Smithfield for hundreds of years. Join Curator Tracey Neikirk for an informative lecture to discover how the exportation of these products began before the Revolutionary War and continue as a major industry today.

Nov. 19. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Thanksgiving.

Nov. 22. Happy Birthday, Benjamin Huger! 2 p.m. Join us for this lecture about the life of Benjamin Huger, the career U.S. Army ordnance officer who fought with distinction during the Mexican-American War and served as a Confederate general during the Civil War.

Dec. 4. An Evening with St. Nick. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Visit the jolly ol’ elf and enjoy a reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – plus holiday refreshments, crafts and activities. Perfect for families! Pre-registration for visits with St. Nick are suggested.

Dec. 17. Tell Me a Story. 10 a.m. This program, geared for children ages 3 to 5, introduces youngsters to the symbols of Isle of Wight and features books, songs and games. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Theme: Gingerbread.

NOTE: All events are subject to cancellation as well as date, time and admission changes.

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