Our Collection is Safe & Sound

While our galleries and public spaces are a storm of construction activity, our collections storage, archives, and curatorial offices on the second and third floors remain relatively quiet. (There is an occasional odd noise from jackhammers or the removal of ceilings!)

These neon signs were formerly on exhibit on the ground floor of the History Center and are now being stored on our fourth floor.


While our galleries and public spaces are a storm of construction activity, our collections storage, archives, and curatorial offices on the second and third floors remain relatively quiet. (There is an occasional odd noise from jackhammers or the removal of ceilings!)

Our remarkable curatorial team headed by Meg Hughes has managed to move, find alternative storage locations, and care for our 1.6 million objects without additional staff and the need for additional off-site storage. The ability to keep the collections at Clay Street was essential to prevent potential damage and to ensure intellectual and physical control of these historic materials. All of this has been accomplished while continuing to providing access to the collections for researchers, continuing our collections management initiative, and planning exhibitions for our new spaces.

Our collections’ staff and volunteers have given an incredible gift to the Valentine and to our community with their efforts to secure the treasures of our collections during the renovations. It is without any doubt the best thing under our tree this year!

Are you curious about the progress of our renovation? Please join us for one of our Hard Hat Happy Hours that occur every Wednesday from 4:30-6:00 p.m. You can contact me for more information or RSVP online and let me know you’ll be coming by.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at /give.

Please have a safe and happy holiday and I’ll touch base with you in the new year!

Bethany in CT

Museum Technician Bethany Gingrich labels some new accessions to our Costume & Textile Collection.

David General

David Voelkel, Curator of General Collections, adjusts an object in storage.

 

-Bill Martin, Director

RVA50 Object 9 “Thomas Jefferson, circa 1895″

“Thomas Jefferson,” circa 1895
Edward Virginius Valentine (1838-1930)
Plaster, paint
EVV.95.02 Read more

RVA50 Object 8 “View of Richmond, Virginia, circa 1835″

“View of Richmond, Virginia,” circa 1835

Artist unknown
Oil on canvas, replica gilt frame
OM.58 Read more

Walls Do Talk

Walls do talk…sometimes in very literal ways! As the demolition continues, we are pulling back layers of previous renovations to reveal stories about the people and activities that have inhabited these spaces. From a wall covered in the 1970’s we found “graffiti-like” stenciled images of football players beside a pencil drawing of a very “hip” bearded male (he would be in style today). It also appears that they used to wall to calculate costs for the project!

Walls do talk…sometimes in very literal ways! As the demolition continues, we are pulling back layers of previous renovations to reveal stories about the people and activities that have inhabited these spaces. From a wall covered in the 1970’s we found “graffiti-like” stenciled images of football players beside a pencil drawing of a very “hip” bearded male (he would be in style today). It also appears that they used to wall to calculate costs for the project!

Firmly pasted to another wall was an old typed list of paintings that must have been exhibited in one of the galleries. (The numbers for the locations of the works are still scattered around the room.) While very hard to date, this list provides interesting insight into our important collections and our past exhibitions. From Conrad Wise Chapman to Sara November, the exhibition list shows a distinctive commitment to a broad range of subject matter and artists. 

I am sure that as the work continues there will be more interesting stories discovered. (No…we have not found any cash or gold, so gifts to the campaign would be greatly appreciated.)

What hints of this renovation will we leave? As part of our Richmond History Makers celebration this year, we asked our celebrants to leave their own messages to the future. I wonder what people will think about us when these walls are revealed during our next renovation in the future?

By the way, if you want to get out of your house on the December 25th, there will be a Hard Hat Happy Hour at 4:30! You can RSVP to me for more information and let me know you’ll be coming by.With family and friends together for the holiday, it might be interesting to hide a story in your own house for future occupants.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at /give.

Please have a safe and happy holiday and I’ll touch base with you in the new year!

Exhibition List Football Players

Bearded Man

Bill Martin, Director

The New View of the Wickham House

In 1902, the Valentine Museum’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to provide free educational programming to the schools of the Richmond region. Central to the work of the History Center, these programs have changed to meet the evolving needs of our teachers. Over the last few years we have expanded these services to provide SOL-based programming in the classroom in addition to the traditional visit to the History Center’s campus. During our renovations, we are building on this outreach.

 

In 1902, the Valentine Museum’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to provide free educational programming to the schools of the Richmond region. Central to the work of the History Center, these programs have changed to meet the evolving needs of our teachers. Over the last few years we have expanded these services to provide SOL-based programming in the classroom in addition to the traditional visit to the History Center’s campus. During our renovations, we are building on this outreach.

While there may not be any field trips to the History Center this school year, it looks like we will actually provide more programs to more students than we ever have before. Over 30% more students will be reached in December than we served on-site and with outreach last December. While excited about returning to the new Sara D. November Education Center in the fall, our amazing education team is making sure we continue our commitment to engagement with the public schools.

The changes in the old activity center certainly reflect changing technology! For instance, the old darkroom for photograph processing (who even knows what a negative is?) will soon become support space for the November Education Center. We are all excited to see what the next generation of educators will do to connect future Richmonders to their past in this new space.

Curious about the renovation? Please join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour and see Clay Street like no one has ever seen it on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. You can RSVP online to schedule a time to stop by.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at /give.

Education Renovations

Renovation progress of the Activity Center and Darkroom

Education Rendering

Rendering of the Sara D. November Education Center

 

-Bill Martin, Director

RVA50 Object 7 “General George Washington (1731/2-1799)”

General George Washington (1731/2-1799)

Oil on canvas, 1850’s
William James Hubard (1807-1862)
OM.5.3 Read more

A New Education Center

In 1902, the Valentine Museum’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to provide free educational programming to the schools of the Richmond region. Central to the work of the History Center, these programs have changed to meet the evolving needs of our teachers. Over the last few years we have expanded these services to provide SOL-based programming in the classroom in addition to the traditional visit to the History Center’s campus. During our renovations, we are building on this outreach.

 

In 1902, the Valentine Museum’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to provide free educational programming to the schools of the Richmond region. Central to the work of the History Center, these programs have changed to meet the evolving needs of our teachers. Over the last few years we have expanded these services to provide SOL-based programming in the classroom in addition to the traditional visit to the History Center’s campus. During our renovations, we are building on this outreach.

While there may not be any field trips to the History Center this school year, it looks like we will actually provide more programs to more students than we ever have before. Over 30% more students will be reached in December than we served on-site and with outreach last December. While excited about returning to the new Sara D. November Education Center in the fall, our amazing education team is making sure we continue our commitment to engagement with the public schools.

The changes in the old activity center certainly reflect changing technology! For instance, the old darkroom for photograph processing (who even knows what a negative is?) will soon become support space for the November Education Center. We are all excited to see what the next generation of educators will do to connect future Richmonders to their past in this new space.

Curious about the renovation? Please join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour and see Clay Street like no one has ever seen it on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. You can RSVP online to schedule a time to stop by.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at /give.

Education Renovations

Renovation progress of the Activity Center and Darkroom

Education Rendering

Rendering of the Sara D. November Education Center

 

-Bill Martin, Director

RVA50 Object 6 “Gentleman’s Suit, circa 1780’s”

Gentleman’s Suit, circa 1780’s

Dr. John Peter LeMayeur
Silk velvet, silk, and metal
V.32.31.02a,b Read more

Can you tell me where the restrooms are?

This has to be the most asked question at our reception desk. As of today, I have no idea. All of the old walls, sinks, and toilets have been removed. One of the targets of the renovation is the total replacement of our existing restrooms. This is certainly one feature of the old building that no one will miss. These dingy (and a little smelly) and inaccessible restrooms will be replaced with ones that are larger and fully accessible. There will even be a special restroom in our education center that on the weekends can double as a changing area for our wedding rentals.

In everything that we do, we are hoping to create the best possible experience for our visitors. With all of the walls and ceilings out on the lower level, we are beginning to see how much more useable and open our new exhibition and education spaces will be.  

Now I bet you are wondering what the second most asked question at the reception desk is? “Is this the Museum of the Confederacy?”   Thanks to our friends at VCU new directional signage is on the way and visitors will soon be able to come directly from Broad Street on 10th to our parking lot avoiding the one-way streets and traffic. Exciting!Please join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour and see Clay Street like no one has ever seen it on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. You can RSVP online to schedule a time to stop by.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at  /give.

 

-Bill Martin, Director

Clay Street Unveiled

For almost 50 years guests entered the Valentine through a set of double doors in the middle of our Clay Street block.  During renovations in the 1970’s the main entrance was moved from the row houses to the Branford Cecil House where it remains today.  For the first time in over 25 years the beautiful doors of this earlier entrance were revealed this week.  We now have a hint of the dramatic changes that our visitors will find in our new galleries.

With the original windows and doors reopened, a direct visual link between the street and the activities in the Stettinius Community Galleries is created.  This is more than a physical change to our building.  It is a reflection of our vision of providing an open and inviting place to discover the history of our region.  Our renovations are more than beautiful new spaces and exhibitions, it is our vision of the Valentine’s role in Richmond’s future.

Please join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour and see Clay Street like no one has ever seen it on Wednesdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. You can RSVP online to schedule a time to stop by.

If you would like to help keep us calm and hammering on, you can support the History Center on our secure donation page at   /give.

-Bill Martin, Director