Old Salem Museums & Gardens Celebrates 250th Anniversary with Community Day

Enjoy Old Salem's rich history, demonstration and more for free.


A 20-minute show will be projected on the Single Brother’s House in Old Salem during Illuminate Salem.

Image courtesy of Old Salem Museums & Gardens.

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Salem, North Carolina, Old Salem Museums & Gardens is opening its doors for a free community day on Saturday, August 13, 2016. All attendees will enjoy free admission, a $27 value, for the entire day. Community Day is being presented with support from the City of Winston-Salem and Wells Fargo.

Visitors should begin at the Old Salem Visitor Center, which is located at 900 Old Salem Road, to receive a tour map and enjoy an orientation video. In addition to the Old Salem Visitor Center, parking will also be available at the Enrichment Center at 1006 S. Marshall St., the YWCA at 1300 S. Main St., Salem College Elberson Fine Arts Center at 500 E. Salem Ave., Gateway Family Medicine at 390 Salem Ave. W. and at the City of Winston-Salem Church Street Parking Deck at 155 S. Church St.

Although admission is free, attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to benefit Sunnyside Ministry.

Some of the experiences available to visitors in Old Salem’s historic exhibit buildings include:

  • Trades demonstrations and organ music at the Single Brothers’ House
  • A gunsmithing demonstration at the Timothy Vogler Gunsmith Shop
  • Daily life in the 18th century at the Miksch Gardens and House, where visitors can see everything from gardening to hearthside cooking
  • St. Philips Heritage Center, where visitors can learn about the African American experience in early Salem
  • Gardeners at work in Old Salem’s beautifully restored landscapes
  • Life in 19th-century Salem in the John Vogler House
  • MESDA’s new Self-guided Galleries, which tell the story of the South through the objects made and used by its diverse craftsmen

In addition to the tours and demonstrations, special activities have been planned for visitors during Community Day, which include:

  • Visit the Krispy Kreme mobile store and enjoy fresh doughnuts.
  • Learn how children in early Salem played with hoops and sticks through hands-on activities.
  • Hear music from a Moravian Brass Band.
  • Stop by the Cobblestone Farmers Market, which will open early, at 8 a.m., and will be open until noon.
  • Visit the The Tavern in Old Salem and listen to the Reel Shady Band perform on the back porch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Tavern also will have a Biergarten featuring Winston-Salem’s own Hoots Beer Co.
  • Purchase food from festive food vendors at the south end of Main Street near the Frank L. Horton Museum Center.
  • Enjoy free bottled water provided by Pepsi Bottling Ventures.

Home Moravian Church will be open for visitors for extended hours, interpretation and refreshments. The church will host several brief worship and music events, with Salem Congregation pastors presiding. Volunteers will be in God’s Acre to provide information and answer questions. The Moravian Archives and Moravian Music Foundation as well as the Single Sisters’ House Museum also will be open that day for visitors.

At 7:30 p.m., the final evening of Illuminate Salem, presented by Flow Automotive Companies, will take place. A concert by the Salem Band, presented with support from Salemtowne Retirement Community, will be followed by a light show created by Norman Coates of the Winston Salem Light Project. The twenty-minute show, which utilizes photos, video, words and music, will be projected on the Single Brother’s House and will tell the story of the town of Salem beginning with its founding and continuing through its 250-year history in a unique and visually stunning way. Much of the music that accompanies the light show has been provided with the help of the Moravian Music Foundation. Bring your family and friends and a picnic blanket and experience the story of Salem. Illuminate Salem is free, although the donation of a nonperishable food item to Sunnyside Ministry is encouraged.

About Old Salem

Old Salem Museums & Gardens is one of America’s most comprehensive history attractions. Its museums — the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), and the Gardens at Old Salem — engage visitors in an educational and memorable historical experience about those who lived and worked in the early South. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is located at 600 South Main Street in Winston-Salem. For more information call 336-721-7300 or visit oldsalem.org.

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