Valentine Offers Free HIV Testing on World AIDS Day


November 21, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Valentine Offers Free HIV Testing on World AIDS Day

RICHMOND — As part of the Valentine’s public health exhibition Pandemic: Richmond, the museum, Nationz Foundation and Diversity Richmond are partnering to offer Richmonders access to free HIV testing in honor of World AIDS Day on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

Nationz Foundation, a non-profit focused on providing education and information related to HIV prevention, health and wellness, will be on site at the Valentine in their Mobile Testing Unit & Food Pantry, providing free HIV tests from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We are excited to partner with The Valentine and Diversity Richmond, to provide education and information related to HIV,” said Zakia McKensey, Founder of the Nationz Foundation. “It is important to erase the stigma related to the virus and make sure everyone is aware of their status!”

“The Valentine remains committed to our timeless mission of pursuing community engagement and providing relevant programming to the people of the region,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “We are honored to be partnering with Nationz Foundation to provide free HIV testing to the neighborhood as a part of our Pandemic exhibition, and we look forward to additional partnerships like this that help us use our history to inform our present and shape the future.”


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 this important region.

About the Nationz Foundation
Nationz Foundation  501(c)3 was organized to fufill a mission to provide education and information related to HIV prevention and overall health and wellness, while inspiring the community to take responsibility for their health while working towards a more inclusive Central Virginia for LGBTQIA+ identified individuals.

About Diversity Richmond
Diversity Richmond is a catalyst, a place and a resource for the LGBTQ+ community. We champion and celebrate our diverse community, working closely with many other non-profits to ensure our vision for a vibrant, inclusive society.


Valentine Intern Spotlight: Yelyzaveta Shevchenko

The Valentine’s Controversy/History intern shares her experiences conducting in-depth research for our conversation series, returning November 6!

VCU Student and Valentine Intern Yelyzaveta Shevchenko.

My name is Yelyzaveta Shevchenko. I am currently a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying History and Political Science. As an optimistic and objective problem solver, I initially came to study Political Science in attempt to understand and develop solutions to issues within our society. However, I soon realized that to properly appreciate contemporary problems, it is vital to understand their historic context. When I learned about the Controversy/History program at the Valentine and the internship that would allow me to research the historic context to modern controversies, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to apply my skills and engage with my community.

Each month, the Valentine hosts an evening that brings together historic and modern scholarship to discuss Richmond’s controversies with the local community. In the past, the program has addressed the issues of transportation, monuments, immigration and other concerns relevant to Richmond. With my previous experience with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources studying the histories of minority groups, I knew I wanted to provide an accessible but rigorously researched historical context to this year’s topics. Because the stories of many minority groups in America have been underrepresented in the historical narrative, I think it is necessary to study these histories to not only address the problems that they face, but to help restore a sense of cultural heritage to their communities.

 Research in the Valentine Archive.

My interest in education and public history stems from my own intrinsic curiosity about the world around me. From a young age, my parents instilled in me a love of learning, and my unique cultural heritage awakened an appreciation for the arts, culture and history. Working at a museum where all of those fields intersect has been a rewarding and informative experience and has inspired me to consider career options outside of academia.

I am currently researching segregation in education for the November 6 event. I am deeply grateful to Director of Public Programs Liz Reilly-Brown and Director of Public Relations and Marketing Eric Steigleder for the guidance they have given me in this project. Thanks to the Valentine Archives and VCU Special Collections, I have come across some intriguing leads that have inspired me to pursue additional independent research on the subject of the 1970-71 busing protests, which I will be presenting at VCU’s School of World Studies Conference. I look forward to taking my research further and following wherever my curiosity will lead me next.

Yelyzaveta Shevchenko is the Controversy/History Intern at the Valentine in Richmond.

Richmond Made: A Museum Store Q&A Series

Richmond Made is a new Q&A series focused on Richmond Makers featured in the Valentine Museum Store!

Our Museum Store Manager Brianna Landes recently sat down with Richmond-based author Steven K. Smith to talk about his Virginia Mystery book series. Young readers will find adventures set against the backdrop of famous Virginia locations, from Maymont to Mount Vernon. These books are perfect for students of Virginia history who are looking for thrills and chills heading into Halloween!

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? What compelled you to start writing children’s books?

A: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a professional baseball player. Or a forest ranger. One or the other. But I have always loved reading, and even made a card catalogue for the books on my bedroom shelf. When I was in grade school I made a copyright page on all my book reports with my own publishing company name. Funny how no one else seemed to do that. I wrote poems and creative stories for school and fun, and wrote an annual Christmas letter each year after college. Its fun to look back and see clues to what might happen down the line, but it wasn’t until many years later that I even considered writing a book. When my youngest of three sons was born, I started a blog called MyBoys3 about the joys and craziness of a house with three young boys. A few years later, soon after we moved to Richmond from New Jersey in 2011, I made up a bedtime story for my older boys about two brothers who move to an old house in Virginia on the edge of the woods and discover lost coins in the creek. That turned into Summer of the Woods, my first book, and I haven’t looked back. I’m about to publish my ninth middle grade children’s book plus two books for adults.

Q: How do you find different places and topics to base your books on?

A: When I moved to Virginia, everything was new and exciting. I was a political science major in college and have always loved history. Sometimes I think when you grow up somewhere much of the surroundings become like wallpaper and are just ignored. But my new home in Richmond was dripping with history and I was eager to discover as much as I could. When I started my second book, I decided to brand the series The Virginia Mysteries, which was like a Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew story set in historical places around Virginia. With so much history, the hardest part is narrowing the choices down to find the story that gets me most excited. If I’m excited by things, chances are that excitement will come out in my writing to my readers as well. I’ve written about places in Richmond like St. John’s Church, The Jefferson, Belle Isle, Hollywood Cemetery and Maymont. In the most recent two books in the series, I’ve gone further around Virginia and picked locations that are especially prominent school unit studies like Jamestown, George Washington, and Mount Vernon.

Q: Do your sons read your stories?

A: Having three boys running around the house has always been a source of inspiration for me. Even pulling things like the way brothers relate to each other and the occasional funny phrase is helpful. My wife and one or more of my kids are often my early readers or listeners to a rough draft. My youngest is in fourth grade, so he’s right in the middle of the target age range. My older two are teenagers and not surprisingly are beginning to think they are too cool for Dad’s books, but I still make them sometimes.

You can find a collection of Smith’s Virginia Mystery books and other items at the Valentine Museum Store


The Valentine’s Controversy/History Series Returns to Tackle City-Wide Debates

October 19, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

The Valentine’s Controversy/History Series Returns to Tackle City-Wide Debates

RICHMOND – Today, the Valentine announced their innovative Controversy/History series will return on November 6, co-hosted by Valentine Director Bill Martin and Coffee with Strangers host Kelli Lemon.

Launched last year, Controversy/History explores present-day issues facing the Richmond community by pairing historic debates with modern data, encouraging important discussions that inspire action and promote progress.

“We’re excited to bring this conversation series back for a second year,” Martin said. “Last year, we were overwhelmed by the community’s interest in these discussions, and we’re excited to offer the Richmond Region the opportunity to engage in further conversations on relevant topics.”

At each of these events, Martin and Lemon will present a back-and-forth focused on an historical debate from Richmond’s past.  Expert speakers will then present data and analysis about what that same debate looks like today.

“After taking part in this series last year, I saw just how important it is to engage in honest conversations about our past as a way to move our region forward,” said Lemon. “I’m looking forward to being a part of Controversy/History again and continue encouraging the community to use the debates of the past to inform the conversations we have today.”

The Valentine has partnered with the Capital Region Collaborative to align discussion topics with their regional priorities and Dialectix Founder Matthew Freeman will facilitate group discussion.

Here is a complete list of dates and topics:

November 6, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
Education: Segregation Then & Now

December 4, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
James River: Commerce or Recreation?

January 8, 2019, 6-8 p.m.
Workforce Preparation: Race & Labor

February 5, 2019, 6-8 p.m.
Healthy Community: Disease & Disparity

April 2, 2019, 6-8 p.m.
A Tale of Two Cities: Richmond or RVA?


About the Valentine
The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond stories for more than a century. Through collections, exhibitions and programs, the Valentine provides residents and tourists the opportunity to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region. The Valentine offers major changing exhibitions, which focus on American urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture.

About Kelli Lemon
Kelli Lemon is an on air personality for Radio One Richmond’s Kiss FM and iPower and hosts a weekly podcast called Coffee with Strangers. Kelli hosts various social events and has assisted in creating unique urban events in Richmond including RVA Pop Up Parties, HeART & Soul Brew Fest, Richmond Black Restaurant Experience and The Art of Noise. Kelli recently opened her social cafe “The Urban Hang Suite” in Jackson Ward.

About the Capital Region Collaborative
The Capital Region Collaborative brings together local government, business, and community stakeholders to achieve a shared vision for the Richmond Region. CRC partners recognize that the most pressing challenges extend across jurisdictional boundaries and that a cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional approach is needed to reach the region’s full potential.

Time Travelers: Free Admission to 20 Historic Sites in Richmond

September 5, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Time Travelers: Free Admission to 20 Historic Sites in Richmond


RICHMOND – Tourists and locals alike are invited to discover the area’s treasures spanning 400 years of fascinating history, including historic homes, museums and other one-of-a-kind attractions. Twenty of the Richmond region’s historic sites will offer visitors a “Passport” to time-travel during a special admission-free weekend, September 22-23.

Each site will offer complimentary admission to visitors who show a Time Travelers Passport, available via download from the participating locations’ websites.

Participating locations include:

Agecroft Hall & Gardens
Agecroft Hall, home to Richmond’s Tudor house, was first built in England in the 1500s, then transported across the ocean and rebuilt in Richmond in the 1920s. Today it is a museum furnished with art and artifacts from 17th century England. Take a 30-minute guided tour, stroll the manicured gardens overlooking the James River, explore the Sunroom Exhibit, get hands-on in the Tudor Kitchen and shop in the museum store. Located just west of Carytown at 4305 Sulgrave Road in Richmond, Agecroft Hall & Gardens will be open Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun. 12:30-5 p.m. For more information, visit To reserve a specific tour time, call 804-353-4241.

The American Civil War Museum – Museum & White House of the Confederacy
Best known as the Confederate executive mansion for Jefferson Davis and his family from 1861-1865, the house provides an ideal opportunity for exploring the full breadth and memory of the Civil War in Richmond. In its 200 year history, the house has served many roles: a private residence for Richmond’s influencers, a headquarters of U.S. occupying forces during Reconstruction, the Richmond Central School, The Confederate Museum, and now the fully restored White House of the Confederacy. All tours are guided and space is limited. As part of the house’s bicentennial, a special themed Lincoln & Davis tour begins at 1:30pm. Located at 1201 East Clay Street in Richmond, The American Civil War Museum’s White House of the Confederacy will be open Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 804-649-1861 or visit Note: attendees can use the passport to receive a free tour of the White House of the Confederacy OR a free tour of Historic Tredegar.

The American Civil War Museum – Historic Tredegar
The American Civil War Museum’s flagship exhibit is housed in the 1861 Tredegar Gun Foundry. Enjoy rotating artifacts, detailed timelines, unique hands-on activities, films, and more. The exhibit presents the story of the Civil War, its causes, course, and its legacies from the viewpoints of Unionists, Confederates, and African Americans. The war was a matter of honor and principle for all three as each acted to uphold its own vision of America. Each remembered the war differently as well, and to this day the war means different things to different people. The dynamic interplay of three peoples at war changed America forever and created a vastly different country from the one that existed before the war. The exhibit shows how the war produced the basic structure and character of the United States we know today. Historic Tredegar is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 804-649-1861 or visit for more information. Note: attendees can use the passport to receive a free tour of the White House of the Confederacy OR a free tour of Historic Tredegar.

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design elevates awareness of the transformative power of architecture and design. They envision a society that appreciates, supports, and embraces exemplary architecture and design…past, present, and future. The Branch Museum is located in the historic Branch House, a Tudor-revival house that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was completed in 1919 by architect John Russell Pope for John and Beulah Branch. The Branch Museum is located at 2501 Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23220. The museum is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. We can be reached at 804-644-3041 ext 151, on our website at, or via email at

Chesterfield County Museum and 1892 Historic Jail
The Chesterfield Museum is a reproduction of the colonial courthouse of 1750. Its collections tell the history of Chesterfield County from prehistoric times through the 20th century. Exhibits include early Indian culture, artifacts from the first iron and coal mines in America, which were in Chesterfield County, early household and farming tools and a country store of the late 19th century. See the museum’s special exhibit, “Ringing in the Centennial of Chesterfield County’s 1917 Courthouse.” The Old Jail, built in 1892, includes a changing exhibit downstairs, “Mobilizing for War” on display through mid-October 2018, a centennial exhibit focusing on the history of the establishment of Camp Lee to train and equip troops for WWI. Upstairs, visitors may view cells as they were when they housed their last prisoners in 1962. The County Museum and Historic Jail will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday and is located at 6813 Mimms Loop in Chesterfield (near Magnolia Grange). For more information, call the County Museum and Historic Jail at (804) 768-7311 or visit

Chimborazo Medical Museum (Richmond National Battlefield Park)
Chimborazo became one of the Civil War’s largest military hospitals. When completed it contained more than 100 wards, a bakery and even a brewery. Although the hospital no longer exists, a museum on the same grounds contains original medical instruments and personal artifacts. Other displays include a scale model of the hospital and a short film on medical and surgical practices and the caregivers that comforted the sick and wounded.  The site is located at 3215 East Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia and is open for free seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (804) 226-1981 or visit

Clarke-Palmore House
The Clarke-Palmore House Museum is located high atop historic Marion Hill in Henrico County. The museum interprets the lives of the Palmore family who lived on this small farm in 1930. Like other families living through the Great Depression, the Palmore family struggled to make a living during tough economic times. Self-sufficiency and frugality were the norm. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 904 McCoul Street in Henrico.  For more information call (804) 652-3406 or visit

Courtney Road Service Station
The 1920s were the boom years for the construction of gas stations in the United States due to an increase of cars, improved roads and low gas prices. Many were built in the “House with Canopy” design like the Courtney Road Service Station, a style that was a 1916 Standard Oil Company prototype. In 1938, the Barlow family owned the station. The station was operated by Mr. Millard G. Wiltshire and sold Sinclair Gasoline and Oil Products. The station is located at 3401 Mountain Road in Glen Allen and will be open Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 4 p.m. For more information call (804) 652-1455 or visit

Dabbs House Museum
The Dabbs House, built in rural eastern Henrico in 1820, gained attention as Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the summer of 1862. Learn about the history of the house from its use as a residence for the Dabbs family to its tenure as Henrico’s police headquarters from 1941 to 1971 and then as a police station until 2005. Visitors can tour the 1862 field headquarters and browse the exhibit galleries. Dabbs House Museum will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 3812 Nine Mile Road in eastern Henrico. For more information call (804) 652-3406 or visit

Deep Run Schoolhouse
This two-room schoolhouse opened in 1902. The school was in use until 1911, offering seven grades of instruction. By folding the movable center wall the space converted into one large room for weekly square dances for the community. Henrico County moved the school to its current location, 3401 Pump Road, from Three Chopt Road in 1996. The museum will be open noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information, call (804) 652-1455 or visit

Historic St. John’s Church
A year prior to drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, Thomas Jefferson attended the Second Virginia Convention held inside St. John’s Church.  Alongside George Washington, Richard Henry Lee and other important figures in the American Revolution, Jefferson listened as Patrick Henry gave his now-famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. This speech ignited the American Revolution, making St. John’s a must-see landmark for anyone interested in the universal struggle for human rights. Since 1938, St. John’s Church Foundation has been charged with the preservation of St. John’s Church, now a National Historic Landmark. The Church, Visitor Center and Gift Shop will be open Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The last tour of the day takes place at 3:30 p.m. To learn more, call 804-648-5015, or visit

The John Marshall House
The John Marshall House, built in 1790, was the home of the “Great Chief Justice” for forty-five years. Listed on the National and Virginia Historic Registers, the John Marshall House has undergone remarkably few changes since Marshall’s lifetime. The property remained in the Marshall family until 1911.  The John Marshall House will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and is located at 818 East Marshall Street in Richmond.  At 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, the Ardent John Marshall Molasses Beer tastings begin. At 1:00 p.m., Dr. Angie Hilliker, Molecular Biologist at the University of Richmond, will be explaining the process of extracting and cultivating yeast from historic madeira bottles to cultivate a new yeast strain to brew beer. Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy Quoits and cornhole yard games, open house tours and kids crafts. For more information, call (804) 648-7998 or visit

The Edgar Allan Poe Museum
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia has been interpreting the life and influence of Edgar Allan Poe for the education and enjoyment of a global audience since 1922. The Museum’s collection of diverse items relating to Poe’s life and writings is the most comprehensive in the world and its programs reach thousands of scholars, students, teachers, and literary enthusiasts every year. Visit for more information about our exhibits and upcoming events.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
Businesswoman. Leader. Civil rights activist. Maggie L. Walker was all of these things, and more.  A tour of her home highlights her achievements and reminds us of the obstacles she overcame to emerge as an inspirational figure in the early twentieth century.  The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is located at 600 N. 2nd Street in Richmond, Virginia, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tours of her home available daily, and is free of charge.  Reservations are suggested for groups of six or more. For more information and for tour times, call (804) 771-2017 ext. 0 or visit

Discover the fascinating story of Maymont, a restored 1893 Gilded Age mansion given to the City of Richmond by James and Sallie Dooley. See the original furnishings upstairs including Tiffany stained glass and a swan bed, while the downstairs story reveals the tasks and challenges of working in service during the Jim Crow era. The surrounding landscape features Italian and Japanese gardens, magnificent trees and a carriage display, as well as Virginia wildlife exhibits, a Farm and the Robins Nature & Visitor Center. On Sunday, celebrate Maymont’s 125th anniversary with a festive carriage parade, food trucks, music and Victorian ladies & gentlemen.  Fees for carriage rides and some activities. Located at 1700 Hampton Street in the heart of Richmond, Maymont Mansion will be open Sat.-Sun. 12-5 p.m. (Grounds are open 10 a.m.-7 p.m.) For more information, call 804-358-7166 ext. 310 or visit

Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park
Meadow Farm, one of the last remaining 19th century farms in Henrico County, is an 1860 living historical farm focusing on rural Virginia life just before the upheaval of the Civil War. Costumed interpreters provide insights into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, the owner of Meadow Farm, his family and those who were enslaved at the farm. Explore the farmhouse, barn, doctor’s office, blacksmith’s forge, kitchen, fields and pastures. Meadow Farm Museum will be open 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 3400 Mountain Road in old Glen Allen. For more information call (804) 652-1455 or visit

The Valentine and the 1812 Wickham House
The Wickham House, built in 1812, is a spectacular example of 19th-century Federal architecture and displays some of the country’s finest examples of interior decorative painting. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Wickham House, built by John and Elizabeth Wickham, illustrates the lives of one of Richmond’s most prominent families. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine, Jr., and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. It is managed and operated by the Valentine. All tours are guided. The Valentine and the 1812 Wickham House will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 1015 East Clay Street in Richmond. The Valentine’s current exhibitions, Valentine Garden, Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio and the Valentine Store will be open as well. For more information, call (804) 649-0711 or visit

The Valentine First Freedom Center
The Valentine First Freedom Center houses 2,200 square feet of exhibits that delve into America’s experience of religious liberty from its European antecedents through today. It is located on the site where Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom was enacted into law by the Virginia General Assembly in 1786. Outside, a 27-foot spire, a limestone wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute, and a 34-foot banner of a seminal Jefferson quote imprint the importance of the “first freedom” on all who come upon that busy corner. The Valentine First Freedom Center is located on the corner of South 14th & Cary streets and will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Parking is available on the street or in public pay lots.  For more information, call (804) 649-0711 or visit

Virginia Randolph Museum
On November 8, 1970, the Virginia Randolph Home Economics Cottage was dedicated as a museum in memory of Virginia Estelle Randolph, a pioneer educator, a humanitarian, and a creative leader in the field of education. The structure, built in 1937 was declared a National Historic landmark in 1976. She secured a teaching position with the Henrico County School Board and opened the old Mountain Road School in 1892 and taught for 57 years. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 2200 Mountain Road, Glen Allen. For more information call (804) 652-1475 or visit

Wilton House Museum
Overlooking a placid stretch of the James River, Wilton House has been welcoming guests since constructed in the 1750s as the centerpiece of a sprawling tobacco plantation by the Randolph Family of Virginia. Here, friends, relations, and weary travelers such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette were welcomed. An impressive example of 18th-century Georgian Style architecture, Wilton House boasts its original and richly detailed paneling and a collection of fine and decorative arts from the Colonial and early Federal eras. When development threatened Wilton House in the 1930s, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased and restored the property. Wilton House Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and is located at 215 South Wilton Road in Richmond. For more information, call (804) 282-5936 or visit

Nominations Open for Richmond History Makers & Community Update

September 4, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Nominations Open for Richmond History Makers & Community Update


RICHMOND – The Valentine has opened nominations for the Annual Richmond History Makers and Community Update.  Launched in 2005, the program recognizes individuals and organizations that have made lasting contributions to the Greater Richmond region.

The Valentine and the Capital Region Collaborative (CRC) will once again partner to highlight the work of six honorees and provide data on the progress being made in the region. The program, which will include recognition of honorees and the CRC’s annual community update, will take place at Virginia Union University on March 12, 2019.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Capital Region Collaborative in order to recognize the good work taking place right in our backyards,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Heading into the fourteenth year of this event, we are looking forward to further engaging with the community and sharing some truly amazing Richmond stories.”

“Collaboration is something our community is becoming known for. Having an opportunity to highlight citizens who are making an impact in the region is unique,” said Executive Director of the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission and Capital Region Collaborative Founding Partner Martha Shickle. “Our nine localities work closely together on so many issues and we have a partnership with the business and civic community that is really unique. We’re excited about the second year of celebration with the Valentine History Makers. Telling the story of our region and the people and organizations who make it ‘greater together’ is why we’re here.”

“The business community believes in the importance of elevating our region. The Collaborative, a public-private partnership, creates a place where we can discuss the best interests of our entire region,” said President of Chamber RVA and Capital Region Collaborative Founding Partner Kim Scheeler.” We all work together to highlight the progress we’re making in our region. We want to be a place that is attractive to ‘live, work and play’, and to get there, we have to work together. The Collaborative brings us together to discuss the issues and priorities that matter. Highlighting the great work that is happening in our region is an important part of how we get there.”

Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) is proud to be a founding partner of the Richmond History Makers & Community Update Program,” said LMR President/CEO Myra Goodman Smith. “We are pleased to play a role in informing the community of its progress in regional priorities and recognizing residents and organizations that are creating a positive impact.”

Nominations for the 2019 Richmond History Makers & Community Update Program are being accepted September 4 through October 22. You can learn more about the program, view past honorees and nominate your own Richmond history maker at


About the Valentine
The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond stories for more than a century. Through collections, exhibitions and programs, the Valentine provides residents and tourists the opportunity to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region. The Valentine offers major changing exhibitions, which focus on American urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture.

About the Capital Region Collaborative
The Capital Region Collaborative brings together local government, business, and community stakeholders to achieve a shared vision for the Richmond Region. CRC partners recognize that the most pressing challenges extend across jurisdictional boundaries and that a cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional approach is needed to reach the region’s full potential.

About Leadership Metro Richmond
Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) is the region’s community leadership development and engagement organization. Over 2,000 diverse leaders have participated in LMR’s 10-month leadership development program, Leadership Quest. LMR provides leaders with an environment for high-performing conversations, broadens their knowledge and perspectives about the region, and inspires them to serve first then lead.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Dominique Gay

Our Costume and Textiles Intern Dominique discusses her love of museums and shares her experience as a returning member of the Valentine team

Hi! I’m the Costume and Textiles intern Dominique. To begin, here is my list of the top three reasons that I think museums are the best place to learn something you didn’t know:

  1. There is a vast amount of opportunity to find something riveting and when you do, it’s up to you if you want to find out more.
  2. You can come back as many or as few times as you want (or at least for the extended amount of time the exhibition is open).
  3. You are in control of how you want to learn.

A museum is a place that houses interesting objects, stories, and facts that make you re-examine what it means to be human. And in my opinion, it is the job of a museum curator (my dream job) to look at what’s in the museum’s collection and find the thing (whether it’s a story, concept, fact, etc.) that would make an audience do just that: re-examine what it means to be human. The Valentine is Richmond’s city history museum. The Valentine curators mine the museum’s collection for stories that make audiences re-examine what it means to be a Richmonder.

When I was a kid, museums were (and still are) my favorite place to learn. Growing up with ADHD made learning in primary school difficult because of limited tolerance for the diverse ways kids’ brains develop and function. However, in museums I always found freedom and solace surrounding the notion of learning. I didn’t realize working in a museum was even something I could be a part of until I met Ms. Kristen Stewart, the Valentine’s Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume and Textiles. She was my professor for Contemporary Fashion at Virginia Commonwealth University, a course that examines Western fashion history from the 19th century to the modern day.

One day, Ms. Stewart took the class on a field trip to The Valentine where she showed us a few incredible historic pieces in the costume collection and a little behind the scenes tour. I was blown away by Ms. Stewart’s immense knowledge of the garments outside of lectures in the classroom and inside the context of a museum and tangible learning. She can look at garment and deduce so much information about the garments makeup while telling the story of the person who wore it and of time period the garment was worn. That moment made me realize working with historical objects and garments as a way of sharing human experiences throughout history and across cultures is something I want to dedicate most of my life to. After that trip, I applied for a Valentine internship and have been working here for the past two semesters.

I am a 4th year World and Textiles Studies student and my focus of study includes how garments and objects can illustrate and bring to light stories of the past, present and even future. Of course, I really tried to tailor my course work to best fit the skills needed to be a museum curator, which also helped immensely with this internship. So far, I’ve accompanied Ms. Stewart on curatorial accession trips, assisted with research for the current exhibition in special collections of libraries and in the museums private archives, helped to construct mannequins and exhibition props and digitally documented shoes dating back to the early 20th century.

Working here has been quite a journey and I can’t thank Ms. Stewart, the Costume and Textiles Technician Elise and the museum enough for letting me be a part of it.

Dominique Gay just completed her internship at the Valentine in Richmond.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Alejandra Hatcher-Mendoza

Our Finance intern Alejandra wrote a blog in Spanish to share what inspired her to apply for an internship at the Valentine

Me llamo Alejandra Hatcher-Mendoza y soy de la gran ciudad de Guadalajara, México. Estoy por empezar mi último año de la universidad en Virginia Commonwealth University estudiando Negocios con enfoque en Finanzas y Economía. Hace poco, me dieron la posición de tesorero y relaciones públicas en mi Financial Management Association (FMA) por parte de la universidad.

Cuando acepté esta oferta, sabía que “The Valentine” iba a ser mi segunda familia. Sabía esto por una de sus exhibiciones en el museo; esta exhibición fue Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond. Esta exhibición contaba nuestra historia; la versión verdadera. En esta exhibición, explicaron cómo Latinos transformaron su nuevo hogar aquí en Richmond y como consiguieron traer su comunidad. Para esta exhibición, usaron fotografías y objetos que son importantes para los Latinos.

Soccer ball used by La Asociación de Hispano Americanos de Richmond, Gift of Andrea Chávez, Photo by Terry Brown

Entre estos objetos, un balón de futbol estaba en la galería principal, y una muñeca con su vestido de quinceañera y una tiara. Ahora, todos sabemos que el fútbol es el mejor deporte, al menos eso pensamos los Latinos. Y los quinces, son primordial para una jovencita que está entrando en su etapa de mujer. En sus fotografías, ellos captaron nuestros barrios, sus colores brillantes, la forma en la que jugamos, y la importancia de la familia. Los Latinos valoramos a la familia; siempre ponemos primero a la familia. En esta exhibición, había una fotografía donde se encontraba una gran familia, nosotros tenemos familias enormes, y me dejó sin palabras. Ellos capturaron nuestra esencia; me da tanta felicidad ver como “The Valentine” atrapó nuestra comunidad y me hicieron sentir bienvenida.

Estoy en mi séptimo semana de las prácticas y ha sido un placer trabajar directamente con Donna Kolba mi supervisora. He trabajado con recibos, con donaciones, actualizar su inventario, y clasificar sus expedientes. Trabajar en “The Valentine” es posiblemente una de las mejores oportunidades que he tenido. Sus directores y su staff cuidan de Richmond y de su comunidad.



My name is Alejandra Hatcher-Mendoza and I am from the big city of Guadalajara, Mexico. I am a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Business with a focus in Finance and Economics. Not long ago, I was appointed for the PR and treasurer position at VCU’s Financial Management Association (FMA) which I am thrilled to be a part of.

When I accepted this offer, I knew The Valentine was going to be my second family. I knew this because of one of their exhibitions; this exhibition was Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, which I got to see and learn from it. They told our story; the actual version. The exhibition explained how Latinos transformed their new home here in Richmond and how they managed to bring in their own culture. Through images and objects, they represented the Latino community.

Their most striking objects were a soccer ball which was placed in the main gallery, and a quinceañera doll with a tiara which was found in the lobby. Now, soccer is the most beautiful sport that was ever created, at least that’s what most Latinos think. A quinceañera party is where the teenage girl transforms or blooms into womanhood. Their photographs revealed where we grew up (some call it barrio), where and how we played, and the importance of family. The Latino community values family; we’ll always put family first. This exhibition had a family picture which left me speechless. They merely captured our essence; it gives me joy to see how The Valentine caught my community and made me feel welcome.

I am in my seventh week of my internship and it has been a pleasure working directly with Donna Kolba. I’ve managed receipts intakes, updated their inventory, and classified office files. Working for The Valentine is hands down one of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever gotten. Their directors and staff care for Richmond and its community.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Kara Garvey

Our General Collections intern Kara discusses her interest in ethnographic history and the Valentine’s Native American ceramics collection

My name is Kara Garvey and I recently graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies. While at college, I worked in an archaeology lab, studying the Native Americans of the Chesapeake region of Virginia. This experience sparked my interest in ethnographic history and artifacts, especially pottery. This attracted me to the Valentine’s General Collections internship focusing on the museum’s Native American ethnographic ceramics collection.

As part of the project, I am assisting the collections team with cataloging archaeologically-recovered pottery shards in compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA). This piece of legislation requires that all institutions receiving federal funding return culturally significant Native American items (such as funerary or sacred objects) to the affiliate tribe. As part of my internship, I designed and implemented cataloguing procedures for Native American pottery for inclusion in the 2018 NAGPRA summary.

A highlight of my internship was a visit to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VADHR). I was able to use their comparative collection to expand my knowledge of Native American pottery types. The staff at VADHR was generous with their knowledge and experience.

My internship at the Valentine has expanded my knowledge of archaeology and Native American material culture as well as provided me with first-hand experience with the day-to-day management of museum collections. I am pleased to have contributed to the Valentine’s mission of preserving and interpreting Richmond’s history and I cannot imagine a more rewarding way to spend the summer.

Kara Garvey is a General Collections intern at the Valentine in Richmond.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Leah Epting

Our Archives Intern Leah discusses her appreciation for Richmond’s history and sharing stories that have long gone untold

Leah Epting with William James Hubard’s papers

My name is Leah Epting and I’m a Masters of Information Science candidate at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science. This summer I found my way back to Richmond for a summer internship in the archives of the Valentine.

I lived in the city for eight years and came to love the rich history and powerful stories it had to tell, as well as the beauty, fun and food. Now, in the processing of the Museum’s archival collections, I can help tell Richmond Stories and expand the narrative by being attentive to previously unheard voices. From my recent work on the papers of the artist William James Hubard to those of early 19th century banker and leading citizen John Adams Smith, I’ve been able to appreciate the depth and complexity of the city’s history and the interconnectedness of so many of its early residents. I’ve also been able to put into practice the archival principals that had previously been only academic.

Sketch by William James Hubard in a letter caricaturing Parisians during his 1838 visit there

What has been most satisfying is the chance to shine a light on the stories of so many who weren’t previously considered important by highlighting their roles in the Valentine collection. While cataloging, I’ve been able to highlight the lives of women, enslaved people and the mentally ill. Their experiences were clearly important to the writers of the documents, so they deserve be a part of the historic record. The reality of supporting the museum’s mission and of creating meaningful connections and inclusion through the archives has been a great experience. Learning about all of the ways in which the archives support exhibitions, other collections and offer research opportunities has been a fascinating journey that I hope to continue. I’m deeply grateful for the kind attention of my supervisor and mentor Meg Hughes and to all the other staff from whom I’ve learned so much.

Leah is an intern in the Valentine Archives in Richmond.