Typhoid Fever!

As part of the Valentine Richmond History Center’s continuing initiative to digitize its photograph collection, a group of 50 lantern slides is now available through the museum’s online database.   The slides, donated by the Richmond Health Department in 1981, appear to be associated with the effort to eradicate typhoid fever in the city in 1907. Typhoid fever, a disease spread from human to human through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, was very much on the minds of the nation during the early 20th century.  Indeed, the notorious “Typhoid Mary” came to national attention in 1907, as the carrier of the disease in New York. Read more

RVA50 Object 18 “Richmond City Hall Diorama, circa 1934″

“Richmond City Hall” Diorama, circa 1934

Artist Unidentified, Federal Arts Project
Works Project Administration
Watercolor on board
V.86.70.02 Read more

Our Volunteers Are Amazing!

The contractors told us there would be surprises–and they were right!

Rendering of the Multi-Purpose Room.

 

The contractors told us that there would be surprises and they were right.

Last week as the contractors were removing the existing wiring in what you might remember as the Neon Gallery, they soon realized that there was more going on under the floor than we had expected. We discovered that under the floor boards was a network of electrical outlets that at some time in the past had been covered by another layer of floor boards. It is not a good thing to cover an outlet as it presents a fire hazard.

As a result of this discovery, we have opted to remove the majority of the existing floor boards on the ground level. While this was not in the plans, the flooring in our new event space will now flow smoothly to the adjourning spaces (and not electrocute our guests) and will also allow us to address moisture problems that were also discovered.

This new multi-purpose space will allow us to host seated dinners for 75 and 150 standing for receptions and various other gatherings.

The ground level will also feature an area for brides to prepare themselves before their ceremony. Next to the multi-purpose area will also be the Klaus and Reynolds Costume and Textile Galleries.

For our continued growth and long-term sustainability, we will need to significantly increase our earned income. The special events and facility rentals that will be hosted in this newly renovated space are all key elements of this plan.

I just wonder what the next discovery (or change in plans) will bring.

Are you curious about our progress? Join us for one of our Hard Hat Happy Hoursthat 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.
Neon Room
The former Neon Gallery after all of the floor and wiring was removed.

 

Electrical outlets
The electrical outlets that were removed from the layers of flooring in the former Neon Gallery.

 

 

–Bill Martin, Director

 

RVA50 Object 17 “The Noble James: Past-Present-Future, 1968”

The Noble James: Past-Present-Future, 1968

Bobby Jones, photographer
Photographic print
L.68.03c Read more

I Love My Pet!

Did you know February 20 is Love Your Pet Day?  Animals have been a part of humans’ lives for eons.  They provide comfort, companionship, and sometimes they help with the kids!  Here are just a few of the pets immortalized in the Valentine’s collection. Read more

The Valentine Richmond History Center Launches Three Exhibitions On Google Cultural Institute

The History Center along with The George C. Marshall Foundation jointly share the second place for partnering institutions in Virginia. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation holds the first spot. Read more

We Stink!

A recent review of the History Center on a travel website said that we smell like a musty old museum. Sorry to say it, but I agree!

A recent review of the History Center on a travel website said that we smell like a musty old museum. Sorry to say it, but I agree!

Providing improved heating, air conditioning and ventilation is an important part of our renovation.  All of our systems have been in place since the expansion in the 1970s and are now being totally replaced to provide an improved environment for our collections and increased comfort for our visitors.

When we replaced our roofs several years ago, we upgraded many of our mechanical systems. (These improvements were a part of the previous phase of our campaign.) We are now connecting these systems to new ductwork and air handling units in all of our public spaces. Fitting all of the larger systems into the building is certainly a challenge for our architects, engineers, and contractors. We can see their creativity in this task as the first major ducts are being installed.

Environmental standards have changed since the 1970s. For the first time, we will be providing both temperature and humidity control in our galleries to assure the long term preservation of objects from our collections.  If you have ever been to an event in our education and public program spaces, you know how uncomfortable they can become.  With our improved and increased air flow, this should not be a problem in the future.

Fresh airnatural light, and innovative programs and exhibitions…and never musty!

Are you curious about our progress? 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.

– Bill Martin, Director

 

RVA50 Object 16 “Tall-Case Clock, circa 1810”

Tall-Case Clock, circa 1810
Movement:  William McCabe, Richmond, Virginia
Case:  Unidentified Cabinetmaker
Mahogany, brass, tin
V.60.156  Read more

A Surprise Under the Floorboards

While the weather outside was frightful, the work inside was frightening. There has been the noise of jackhammers everywhere!

While the weather outside was frightful, the work inside was frightening. I really thought that most of the demolition inside the building had been completed. Well…I was wrong! 

There has been the noise of jackhammers everywhere! 

This was the week that large load bearing walls were removed to prepare for the new steel beams waiting to be installed. Suddenly we have even larger open spaces for the Stettinius Community Galleries and the Klaus and Reynolds Costume and Textile Galleries.

I really did not understand fully the magnitude of some of these changes until I saw it for myself this week.

Until the beams are in we have a new art installation (actually it is a complex web of temporary framing – see below) that supports all four floors. While the framing is really beautiful, I know that our staff on the floors above would rather be focused on planning for the new galleries than the constant noise below. With the work on the basement floor, we are now able to look through the entire building from the Wickham House to the education center in the Bransford Cecil House. 


Temporary framing in the Stettinius Community Garden.

Wickham house view
The view from the Wickham House into the Sara D. November Education Center

But the renovation fun did not end there, the City also began their major replacement of water and sewer lines on both Clay and 10th Streets. The streets around us have been filled with the sounds of jackhammers pulling up paving along with the movement of trucks and backhoes. VCU continues work on its new building (with lots of new parking) on Broad and 10th. 10th Street will soon be made 2-way providing much easier access to Broad Street.This is work that will change the way we think about our Court End neighborhood.
Clay St Construction
Water and sewer replacement on Clay Street.

OK…I’ll admit it…it’s a mess around here. And that is even more reason for you to come to 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.

These are exciting times in Richmond and I know that you join us as we watch the transformation of the Valentine and downtown.

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

 

RVA50 Object 15 “John Wickham (1763-1839)”

John Wickham (1763-1839)
C.B. Julian Fevret de St. Memin, 1808
Engraving
V.36.57.01 Read more