November 7, 2019

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

New Exhibition Uses Social Media to Explore the Fight for Women’s Suffrage

#BallotBattle will highlight five Richmonders to tell the complex story of voting rights


Women’s Suffrage Rally at the Virginia State Capitol, 1916. The Valentine Museum Collection, X.49.37.43

RICHMOND —Opening November 21, 2019, #BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage will use modern social media platforms to examine the  suffrage debate and the intersecting issues of race, gender, power and politics as they coalesced in Virginia’s capitol city in the early 1900s.

Examining the positions, opinions and disagreements between five high-profile Richmonders between 1909 and 1920, the exhibit will imagine these tensions playing out as if historical activists had access to present-day social media.

“Representing historical perspectives in a modern format is a creative approach to our mission to engage and represent a diverse cross-section of Richmond history,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “This interpretation is a fresh look at how we reflect on historical debates. It’s relatable, but still inspires a deep look back on social progress, how we used to engage in public debate and how we discuss those same issues today.”

Virginia’s 1902 Constitution had stripped Richmond’s African American men of their voting rights, and the role of women in the home and public society was hotly contested. In the midst of this heated political and social climate, the individuals highlighted in #BallotBattle will represent a variety of positions beyond pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage, providing the visitor with a nuanced take on a vitally important era in Richmond history.

Visitors will also be encouraged to interact with the exhibition itself, using an Instagram wall and engaging with a rotating list of written prompts where they can “like”, “dislike” and comment via sticky-note emojis.

#BallotBattle closes on September 7, 2020.


About the Valentine
The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s 400-year history for over a century. Located in the heart of historic downtown, the Valentine is a place for residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of the region through exhibitions, programs, events and more. To learn more, visit