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-rabid town that made the World's Largest Ham Biscuit.

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.

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]

Old ham exhibit.

World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

Smithfield is a typical all-American town, complete with nicely restored historic buildings, kitschy shops, and a museum showcasing a big, moldy ham. The town and museum staff seems oddly normal, considering their circumstances. I mean, this is "the real America." Anyone that cares this much about showing off a rotting pig should be on a trash-covered sidewalk in New Jersey, not Smithfield. This museum may have found the only way to make hoarding an old, moldy ham seem acceptable, as it is encased in glass and presented alongside sparse collections of Colonial and Native American artifacts.

[Tiffany Belacic, 01/28/2009]

We don't know about "trash-covered sidewalks," but lucky NJ is the only state where you can look at two pieces of Grover Cleveland's wedding cake that are older than Smithfield's ham (the middle one in the photo).

Old hams.

World's Oldest Cured Ham

We went to the Isle of Wright museum to see the "World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham." The docent told us that it was definitely *not* edible anymore, but it's still the oldest cured ham in existence (In the photo it's the ham in the center). The world's largest cured ham and the world's oldest peanut is now in the museum to compliment their oldest ham.

The museum's exhibits also include prehistoric fossils, Native American and Colonial artifacts, and a country store.

[Rachel B., 01/15/2009]
World's Oldest Edible Cured Ham

The cured ham is also the oldest edible cured ham in the world. It looks gross with green mold on the outside, which we were assured could be scraped off if one wanted to eat the ham. Of course, these type of cured hams have to be soaked in water for at least 24 hours and then slow cooked for hours prior to eating.

This is a neat little museum, they have revolutionary war and civil war items as well as the items from the Smithfield hams industry. The main street of town where the museum is located is worth spending a day exploring. A bronze statue of Ben Franklin sits on a bench outside the local newspaper The Smithfield Times. The Smithfield Bakery has the best muffins, cookies, and sandwiches on homemade bread.

The museum has pictures of the ham biscuit from 2002 at 8 feet in width, 14 inches tall...500 pounds of Smithfield Ham. The Smithfield Ham Biscuit, which was made during last year's 250th Anniversary Celebration, was accepted by Guinness World Records as the World's Largest Ham Biscuit.

[Lana, 04/27/2003]

World's Oldest Edible Ham

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 $2.00
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

USS Monitor Relics, ReplicaUSS Monitor Relics, Replica, Newport News, VA - 9 mi.
Auto Muffler KingAuto Muffler King, Newport News, VA - 11 mi.
Statue of Mr. PeanutStatue of Mr. Peanut, Suffolk, VA - 18 mi.
In the region:
Thomas Jefferson, College Loan Deadbeat, Williamsburg, VA - 20 mi.

Latest Tips Across Roadside America

Catch up on the latest discoveries from the road.

Explore Thousands of Oddball Tourist Attractions!

Unique destinations in the U.S. and Canada are our special obsession. Use our attraction recommendation and maps to plan your next road trip.

November 23, 2017

My Sights

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Virginia Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Ruby City Museum, Franklin, North Carolina (Nov 20-26, 2017)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Book Online Now