There's a museum on Main Street that needs help. Its physical location is Smithfield, VA, but it might as well be "Main Street" Virginia Beach, or Hampton, or Norfolk, because it shelters bits of life from family farms, factories, steamboats, and cannon...Hampton Roads in a nutshell. A peanut shell.
It's true that Smithfield was the Peanut Capital of the World before it was the Ham Capital of the World. It's also true the museum houses BOTH the world's oldest ham AND peanut. But that's just part of the charm. The museum hosts scores of school children each year, entertains thousands of tourists and locals, holds lectures, traveling exhibits, and delights all who enjoy agriculture and milk bottle collections. Photo archives? Check. History Books and genealogy? Check? Gainful employment for hard-working docents and a curator? Check. They've got 5000 years of history all housed within a century-old bank building. Perfect.
The Isle of Wight County Museum must raise $26,000 by June 30th to keep the light bulbs burning. We didn't foresee the current crisis--the museum has been fully funded by the County Government for many years--but times are tight and as the museum is considered a "want" and not a "need", we must seek our own fortune.
But the museum is a "need". We need small town museums to check our hectic 21st century lives. We need a touchstone to remind us where we hail from, and who's shoulders we stand upon. We need the authenticity of history.
As we need the museum, it now needs us. Please join me in donating to an authentic tidewater museum. There's a donation box located inside the museum lobby, or you can make a tax-deductible donation online to the Isle of Wight Historical Society at www.SaveIOWMuseum.com, or mail a check to the IOW County Historical Society, PO BOX 121, Smithfield VA, 23431.
We can keep the doors open.
Gratefully yours, W. Lee Duncan President, Isle of Wight County Historical Society