Smithfield, Virginia: World's Oldest Edible Ham

Potentially 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.
T-Sa 10 am - 4 pm, Su 1-5 pm. (Call to verify)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About World's Oldest Edible Ham

Reports and tips from visitors and Roadside America mobile tipsters. Some tips may not be verified. Submit your own tip.

Banjo machine. World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

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]
World's Oldest Ham

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]
Oldest peanut. World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

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]
World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

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]
World's Oldest Ham. World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

This museum certainly was worth the wait. We attempted to visit once, but the museum was closed for almost two years due to a flood. We entered and were immediately escorted to view the Hams on display. Also mention The World's Oldest Peanut, and the World's Largest Ham biscuit being made here, and the certificate from Ripley's Believe It or Not.

All in all, this museum is what tourist stops are all about.

[Alphageek, 06/27/2009]

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