Salem Museum Speaker Series – Roanoke Island: What’s Lost, What’s Found

Roanoke Island, on the North Carolina coast, has been the dramatic setting for a history spanning more than four centuries, including the well-known “Lost Colony” of 1587. As visitors sometimes confuse the Roanoke Valley with Roanoke Island, the Salem Museum is sponsoring a virtual talk and field trip to Roanoke Island to learn the story of this very different Roanoke.

Josh Nelson, a National Park Ranger at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site which includes Roanoke Island, will be the featured speaker and tour guide on Saturday, March 13, at 11 am. This virtual presentation is free, open to the public, and will be held via Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted on the Salem Museum’s web site,, on the morning of the talk.

Nelson will take viewers on a virtual tour of the archeological sites located on the island. The national park protects and preserves known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590, as well as the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

First to live on Roanoke Island were the Carolina Algonquians, who farmed the land and fished the sounds. In 1584, English explorers sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh arrived there. It was the first of three voyages in England’s attempt to colonize North America. During the American Civil War, the US Army established a freedmen’s colony there. The colony prepared formerly enslaved people for life after the war.

About the Salem Museum & Historical Society

The Salem Museum is located next to Longwood Park in the historic 1845 Williams-Brown House at 801 East Main Street, Salem, VA 24153. Open Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Museum admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The Museum has free parking. 540-389-6760.

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