Smithfield, Virginia: World's Oldest Edible HamPotentially edible, but we wouldn't recommend it (It's been a ham since 1902). In the same ham-crazy town that made the World's Largest Ham Biscuit.
Isle of Wight County Museum
- 103 Main St., Smithfield, VA
- Isle of Wight County Museum. I-64 exit 263A (Mercury Blvd/US 258). South on US 258, across the James River Bridge, for 17.5 miles. Turn right on Main St. in Smithfield, then one-half mile to Museum.
- M-Sa 10-4, Su 12-4 (Call to verify)
- Adults $2.
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
Visitor Tips and News About World's Oldest Edible Ham
The Isle of Wight Museum, home of the ham and peanut, now charges $2.00 for admission. You can't beat that price, though, for its informative audio tours, video tours, well-set-up dioramas, and more! There's also a very thorough collection of antique milk glasses from Virginia dairies, a lot of information about Gwaltney/Smithfield hams, and lots of cool things to take pictures of. The Peanut is there, and legit.
Both the Peanut and the World's Oldest and Largest Hams are encased in security glass to prevent people from drooling on them.[LeftOvers4Dinner, 09/03/2014]
The World's Oldest Ham just celebrated its 112th birthday.
After a pilgrimage to the oldest ham and the 113+ year old peanut,, wander around Smithfield a bit. At the nearby Smithfield Inn you'll find a display of the ham's achievements via Guiness World Records and Ripley's.
On Main St., west of Mason St., there is a seated bronze statue of Ben Franklin with the Declaration of Independence. Probably the same sculptor who did the ten Jefferson bronzes. There is also an English phone booth nearby.
Finally, my fave, in an antique shop on Main St. an automatic banjo machine that works.[Roger Crook, 04/26/2012]
We stopped in to see the Isle of Wight Museum, which includes the infamous "World's Oldest Ham" and also the "World's Oldest Peanut." They both lived up to their billing. It is a very small museum, but is a fun visit for a pleasant hour - it is on the main drag and you can visit other historical sites, shops, etc., right at the same time.
Admission is now free.[Michael M., 12/09/2011]
About 5 feet from the ham is the World's Oldest Peanut. It was started by the father of the guy who started the oldest ham. The peanut is now in Guinness World Records as the oldest. So see the ham, and get another oldest as well.
The museum attendant was super helpful. It's nice and well kept up. Lots to do for adults with a childish attitude. Everything from narrated general store to an archeological dig you can do. We covered ourselves in sand.[Shane, 02/24/2011]
The ham and the museum remain much as the other tipsters have said. They found the ham after it had fallen off the conveyor belt around 1902. I forget his name (I will call him Mr. Smithfield) wanted to see how long it would last. Around 1920 he put a gold leash on it and started taking it to parties. Now it's outlived him.[Ardith Ohka, 03/06/2010]