Smithfield museum needs donations to keep doors open

SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) – A Smithfield museum meant to document local county history could soon be history, itself.

County government cannot afford to fully fund the Isle of Wight County Museum as it’s done in years past. The museum on Main Street needs to raise $26,000 by the end of the month.

“The core expenses can’t be cut, so the museum is one of the things that doesn’t include schools, roads and so forth,” said Lee Duncan, President of the Isle of Wight Historic Society. “That’s how we got here.”

Among the many local treasures featured inside are the world’s oldest peanut, dating back to 1890, and the world’s oldest ham, cured in 1902 by the Gwaltney family.

The museum has recently expanded, with an extension focused on interactive exhibits for children.

“The museum, since we’ve been in so many good years, has had a chance to really flourish, and it’s peaking right now,” said Duncan. “For us to suddenly to be defunded and have to close, it makes no sense.”

So far, the museum has raised half of the money needed to keep the doors open for future generations, but there are only a few weeks left for fundraising. If the museum does not meet the goal, the doors will close July 1.

To learn more about how you can help, click here. Donations can be sent online or by mail. All contributions are tax deductible.

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