RVA50 Object 31 “Old Chief Smokum Figure, circa 1885″

“Old Chief Smokum” Figure, circa 1885

Terra cotta, plaster cast
V.56.57 Read more

Feeling Groovy

Surprise! (and this one is really interesting!)

One more discovery was made last week as walls were being removed.  An unfamiliar (and kind of groovy) graphic panel was revealed behind a ramp leading into our education center.

What is this odd combination of designs?

Providing hands-on educational experiences for the region’s schools has always been at the heart of the Valentine’s mission.  From the 1960’s through the 1980’s, the Valentine’s Junior Center (supported by the Junior League of Richmond) provided innovative science and art education programs to complement the museum’s long-standing history programs.  As you look at the wall, you can almost hear the punk rock and disco music of the era.

From the swirl of a galaxy to an artist’s palette, from a capital of an architectural column to a fish from the James River, the simplified design reminds us of the arts, science, nature and history programs that were offered in the education center.  (We even had an active bee colony on display!)

It is hard to imagine today, but when this panel was installed in the 1970’s there wasn’t a Science Museum of Virginia, a Children’s Museum, a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, a Black History Museum or even a Maymont Nature Center.

What an amazing growth in our museums and the cultural assets in our region!

As the educational resources have expanded over the decades and as new museums have opened, the Valentine has continued to adapt and innovate.  This tradition and commitment to engagement in public education will continue as we plan to open the Sara D. November Education Center this coming fall.

Are you curious about our progress? Join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour happening 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 30 “Views of Richmond & Vicinity, circa 1870s”

“Views of Richmond & Vicinity,” circa 1870s

Anderson Gallery, photographer
George S. Cook, publisher
Richmond, Virginia
Stereograph
V.46.38.387 Read more

The Valentine named Best Historic Museum in “Best of Virginia” 2014

The Valentine was once again named Best Historic Museum in Central Virginia by Virginia Living Readers in “Best of Virginia,” released on May 9! The Virginia Historical Society received second place. Read more

Keep Calm and Hammer On – Week 29

Exactly five months from today we will begin a week-long celebration of the grand re-opening of our galleries, education center and gift shop.

 

Exactly five months from today we will begin a week-long celebration of the grand re-opening of our galleries, education center and gift shop.

Schedule your staycation at the Valentine for the week of October 20th!

While there have been a number of surprises along the way, I am pleased to report that we are on schedule and that we are very close to our budget projections for the renovation.

I  realize now that there isn’t any wiggle room in our schedule and we wish we had more of our construction contingency left for additional surprises.

Exhibition designs are nearing completion and their fabrication will begin soon.

Community conversations and public programs are being planned for the new spaces.

Facility rentals are beginning to be confirmed. (A very brave group even booked the first holiday party in a space that today has no walls.)

Large groups gather each week for our Hard Hat Happy Hours.

Funding requests continue to move forward.

It seems impossible that just seven months ago we gathered at Richmond History Makers to begin this process.  

Last week we held a reception for major donors to our annual campaign.  It reminded me of the incredible and loyal support in this community for the Valentine.  This has been a long process and I appreciate your willingness to join us every Monday.  I’m looking forward to the next few weeks because there will be much to report on our progress.  Stay tuned… 

Are you curious about our progress? Join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour happening 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

Valentine Richmond History Center to Participate in Blue Star Museums

The Valentine Richmond History Center is one of more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense Read more

RVA50 Object 29 “The Richmond Calamity, 1870″

“The Richmond Calamity,”1870
From a sketch by W.L. Sheppard
Harper’s Weekly, May 14, 1870
Wood engraving
V.45.28.415 Read more

Nominations are open for 2014 Richmond History Makers

The Valentine Richmond History Center invites any community member to nominate this year’s Richmond History Makers. The tenth annual program recognizes five everyday citizens and outstanding organizations that are making largely unrecognized contributions to communities within the Greater Richmond Metropolitan area. Read more

Stain Remover

And the winner is…

 

Each week we are faced with decisions about the final finishes for our new spaces. This week’s choice is the stain color for our floors. Our galleries and special event spaces will feature a mixture of recycled and new hardwood floors. Many of these floors have been hidden under wall-to-wall carpet for decades. So what color stain should be used to unify all of our spaces on the main and lower level?

And the winner is: GOLDEN OAK!

Just imagine a 19th century map of Richmond painted on this beautiful floor!

Are you curious about our progress? Join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour happening 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

Signs of the Times

There were some big additions to the exterior of the building this week!

The Valentine has a unique collection of signs that document Richmond’s retail and commercial history. From an early painted sign for Freedman-Marks to the molded plastic Triangle Bookstore sign, this collection reminds us of the evolving mix of businesses that have been a part Richmond’s economy.

Many of these signs have been exhibited in our meeting room on the ground level. The renovation provided us an opportunity to restore the signs and relocate them. (While I liked the signs in this space, we have learned over the years that many brides would rather not have a glowing Buster Brown in their wedding photographs.)

Thanks to a very loyal Valentine supporter and lover of neon, the signs have been repaired and mounted throughout the Clay Street campus. The newly restored WTVR and Trailways Bus signs are both great additions to our existing collection that will welcome visitors into the building.

Our diverse collection serves as a colorful reminder of our region’s past.

Are you curious about our progress? Join us for a Hard Hat Happy Hour happening 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