L.S. King, "Twilight at Thurmond" from "Maybe Smith's Imaginarium," Thurman, West Virginia, May 12, 2023. The photograph is part of a new exhibit at the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke. Photo courtesy of the museum.

Here are some of the top events around Southwest and Southside for the coming week. Check out our new events calendar. Got an event? You can add it there for free. Want to keep up with what’s happening? Sign up here for our free weekly events newsletter.

Three new exhibits are on display at the O. Winston Link Museum in Roanoke through Nov. 1.

“On the Rails,” which includes the work of 20 amateur and professional photographers, showcases contemporary and vintage photographs illustrating the continued influence trains have on the landscape of both Roanoke and America.

“Bespoke: Millinery from the Permanent Collection,” which honors Roanoke resident and Roanoke History Museum volunteer Sara Airheart for her 95th birthday, showcases the hats that once graced the windows of downtown Roanoke’s storefronts.

“A Moment at Crewe: the Lyon Legacy” captures the end of the steam era for the N&W Railway, as well as the once thriving railroad industry between Roanoke and Norfolk at Crewe. The exhibit combines Capt. W.S. Lyon’s 1958 photographs of the railroad workers at Crewe and Terry Lyon’s artistic representations of his father’s photographs.

The Roanoke History and O. Winston Link museums are housed in a historic train passenger station across from Hotel Roanoke and are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free for members of the Historical Society of Western Virginia and $6 for adults, $5 for seniors/military/students, $3 for ages 12-17 and free for those under 12.

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July 7: Tribute to Hazel Dickens at Birthplace of Country Music Museum

Country singer-songwriter Karen Collins pays tribute to groundbreaking artist and Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer Hazel Dickens during a special performance at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol at 7 p.m. Friday.

“The program celebrates the life and legacy of the great Hazel Dickens as Collins performs some of Hazel’s best-loved songs,” said Rene Rodgers, the museum’s head curator.

Dickens was a singer, songwriter, musician and social activist whose career in music spanned five decades. Her music spoke of truth to power about black lung, equality for women, the labor movement and poverty, and her musical partnership with Alice Gerrard broke new ground for women, influencing many generations to come. Dickens died in 2011 at the age of 85. 

Collins grew up in a coal mining community in Southwest Virginia and went on to become lead singer of the honky-tonk outfit The Backroads Band. She also performs with a Cajun group called Squeeze Bayou and sings in the acoustic country quartet The Blue Moon Cowgirls.

Hazel Dickens is one of 50 women featured in the museum’s special exhibit “I’ve Endured: Women in Old-Time Music,” on display now through Dec. 31. Ticketholders to the concert are invited to take a free, curator-led tour of the exhibit prior to the concert at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets for the concert are on sale for $10 and can be purchased online.

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July 8: Jeff Little Trio at Blue Ridge Music Center

The Jeff Little Trio and DaShawn and Wendy Hickman will bring an evening of Blue Ridge-style piano and pedal steel to the Blue Ridge Music Center on July 8.

The Music Center is at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just south of Galax.

Jeff Little is an award-winning piano player from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His trio features Steve Lewis on guitar and banjo and Luke Little on mandolin.

Opening the show are DaShawn and Wendy Hickman, from Mount Airy, North Carolina. DaShawn Hickman is one of today’s foremost players of Sacred Steel; his wife, Wendy, is a vocalist.

Tickets are $20 adults, free for children 12 and younger. Advance tickets are available online and also can be purchased the evening of the show at the admission gate.

Parking opens at 5:15 p.m. and is free. Admission to the amphitheater begins at 5:45 p.m.

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July 13: Reception honoring New River Valley’s rail heritage and future

The Montgomery Museum of Art and History in Christiansburg will host a reception and program about the region’s rail heritage and future from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 13.

The event will open a new exhibition by artist Patricia Bolton, as well as an exhibit focused on the history of the railroad in Montgomery County, an exhibit of works by noted photographer O. Winston Link and a panel discussion about the future of passenger rail in the New River Valley. 

Bolton’s new exhibit, “Celebrating Beauty,” showcases a range of media including alcohol ink, pen and ink, colored pencils, pastels and photography. The exhibit opens July 6.

Also opening at the Montgomery Museum is “O. Winston Link: Capturing the Last Steam Railroad,” featuring prints from Link’s 1955-1960 work. Providing context to the Link prints will be a separate exhibit, “Let’s Go to the Depot! How the Railroad Changed Montgomery County and Cambria.” The two rail heritage exhibits open the evening of July 13. 

From 6:30-7:30 p.m. July 13, the museum will feature a panel discussion that will focus on passenger rail, which is coming to Christiansburg in 2025. Panelists will include representatives of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, the New River Valley Regional Commission, New River Valley Passenger Rail and the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

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July 13: Civil War historian at the Salem Museum

Civil War historian Alex Burke will discuss Hunter’s Campaign and the Battle of Hanging Rock at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Salem Museum.

Salem’s most active engagement during the war occurred on June 21, 1864, as retreating Union forces under Maj. Gen. David Hunter met up with Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. John McCausland at Hanging Rock. While this small battle did nothing to change the trajectory of the war, it played a significant role in how these events are interpreted and remembered locally.

Burke is the assistant director of the Salem Museum and serves as the museum’s chief historian and exhibit designer.