Educational Programs, Outreach Programs and Lectures
We offer educational programs for all ages at the museum and our affiliated historic sites. We also offer outreach programming for organizations, libraries, community groups, churches, retirement centers, group homes and nursing homes.
Below is a sampling of our topics. If you are interested in a program not listed here, please contact us.
Pam Oliver of Oliver Farms discusses the harvesting of cotton.
Herb De Groft on the making of a Smithfield ham.
Topics for Adult Learners
Isle of Wight County History
Isle of Wight County History in 40 Objects
Preserving Family Treasures
Indians of Eastern Virginia
History of Ham and Peanuts in Smithfield and Isle of Wight County
Mid-Century Potluck: Foodstuffs of the 1940s and 1950s
Taste of War: Food of the Civil War
Everything But the Squeal: What Happens to All Parts of the Pig
Country Stores and Commerce in Agricultural Virginia
Archaeology in Isle of Wight County
Archaeology in your Backyard
History of Food Preservation
Steamboats on the Pagan River
Revolution and Colonial History of Isle of Wight County and Smithfield
Civil War in Isle of Wight County
Battle of Smithfield, 1864
Cold War History in Hampton Roads and Cold War Pop Culture
Windsor Castle: Smithfield’s Jewel
Women During the Civil War
Women During the Revolutionary War
Women Posing as Sailors during the Revolutionary War
Women in the Military During World War I
Medicine, Quackery and Patent Medicines through the Ages
The History of Spices
Holiday Programming: Traditions, Gingerbread, Candles, etc.
TOPICS FOR STUDENTS
Overview of Isle of Wight County History
Isle of Wight County has a rich history dating from pre-colonial settlement to the modern day ham industry. Discover how this county was named and grew to be one of the most recognized regions of Virginia. Grades 4 and up.
The First Residents of Isle of Wight
The first residents of Isle of Wight County were the Warraskoyack, Nansemond and Nottoway. Discover their history which pre-dates colonial America. Learn about their history and culture which predates colonial America. View artifacts from various sites and learn about their daily lives. Grades 4 and up.
Civil War in Isle of Wight County
Isle of Wight County sat at a crossroads during the Civil War. With its borders running from the James to the Blackwater Rivers, Isle of Wight was region for Union troop movement and Confederate information. Discover the impact of the war on the local white and black residents. Grades 4 and up.
Getting Prepared: The Cold War
Nuclear attack was always on the public’s consciousness after World War II. The United States developed a strategic missile plan that included a site in Isle of Wight. Learn how the Nike Park Missile site fits into the National Defensive System and how local residents prepared for an atomic blast. Grades 9 and up.
Early Settlement in Isle of Wight County
The first settlement in Isle of Wight dates to 1619. Explore how the first settlers adapted to their new environment. View artifacts from Basse’s Choice to discover the hardships of early settlement. Grades 3 and up.
Going to the Country Store: Life 100 Years Ago
Milk comes in a plastic jug, and music comes in a digital file. How was that done 100 years ago? Discover how some of our most basic needs have changed over the century. This hands-on program allows students to demonstrate how many items we use today have changed. Kindergarten and up.
Peanuts and Ham: Making a Name in Smithfield
P.D. Gwaltney Sr. saw a market for peanuts after the Civil War. His business grew and evolved to include ham. The town of Smithfield became known as the Peanut Capital of the World before it was known as the Ham Capital of the World. Using primary source materials, discover how one small, quiet town could take a nation by storm with just two products. Grades 7 and up.
Occupied! The Revolutionary War Comes to Isle of Wight
Loyalists! Revolutionaries! Both sides were represented in Isle of Wight County. Learn how they reacted to the political debate. Once British troops marched through and occupied areas of Isle of Wight, what mark did they leave behind? Grades 4 and up.
Court Days and Tavern Life in the Early Republic
Boykin’s Tavern was developed to serve as a stopping point on the road from Smithfield to Franklin to provide food and beverages for the newly constructed courthouse. Discover what a court day was like. Explore some of the tales of life in the emerging Republic. Grades 4 and up.
Making Do: The Great Depression
The Great Depression challenged families to “make do” with what they had. Explore one family’s attempts to survive by farming, raising livestock, taking in boarders, feeding prisoners and building a country store. Grades 7 and up.
Carrollton Nike Park
13036 Nike Park Road Carrollton, Va. 23314
Getting Prepared: The Cold War
At the conclusion of World War II, tension existed between the Soviet Union - and its satellites - and the democratic countries of the West. Our presentation reviews the origins of the Cold War and continues with a walk through Nike Missile Site N-75, one of the few surviving Army Air-Defense Posts, to view the buildings and areas associated with this underground missile system. Grades 7 and up.
Off Route 10 at 15080 Talcott Terrace Isle of Wight, Va. 23430
Open dawn until dusk
To Build a Fort
What does it take to build a fort for defense? Visit Fort Huger for a history of the fort and learn the military terms and expressions to describe its architecture….terms such as bombproof, embrasure, bastion and sally port. Grades 4 and up.
7410 Fort Boykin Trail Isle of Wight, Va. 23430
March - October 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
November - February 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Growing Defense of Isle of Wight County History
Fort Boykin is one of the oldest fortifications in North America and has been owned by 33 separate people in recorded history - beginning with Chief Powhatan. Visit this fort and learn the history of the county in one walk. Grades 4 and up.
301 Jericho Road Smithfield, VA 23430
Smithfield's Birth and Development
Portions of Windsor Castle and its former plantation are now part of a 208-acre public park overlooking the Pagan River in the town of Smithfield. Originally, this area was occupied by the Warraskoyack Indians. On Sept. 10, 1637, Arthur Smith patented 1,450 acres of land in Isle of Wight County, formerly known as Warraskoyack Shire. The property was described as “a neck of land running S.E. along a creek behind Pagan Shore.” Grades 4 and up.