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.

A View From a High Schooler

High-schooler Phylicia Winston recently shadowed one of our curators as part of Collegiate School’s new Trailblaze Career Mentorship Program. Below are Phylicia’s reflections from her week exploring the museum field.


Phylicia with Collegiate School ephemera housed in the Valentine’s archives.

My name is Phylicia Winston. I am currently a rising senior a Collegiate School in Richmond. Recently, I had the opportunity to shadow Mrs. Meg Hughes, Curator of Archives at the Valentine to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes in a museum. I was able to take part in this unique opportunity through a new program at my school called Trailblaze.

Trailblaze gives you the chance to shadow a Collegiate Alumni in a field you would like to pursue or by interest. My time spent at The Valentine is not what I expected it to be. I had a very busy week ahead of me. SI got to take a part in was a behind the scene tour of the museum and the 1812 Wickham House, I sat in on a board meeting, handled ephemera, and worked on past and new exhibits.

One of the highlights of the week was definitely working with an older exhibition focusing on neon signs around Richmond. I think that was one of my favorites because I got to learn what is involved in deconstructing an exhibition. Overall, I loved this experience. I enjoyed getting to be in downtown Richmond and learning about a new field and passion: history. I enjoyed working and getting to know the wonderful and amazing staff at this museum.

I also loved being able to spend time outdoors in the Valentine Garden. I want to thank everyone who made my week amazing and exciting. I want to thank Collegiate for providing me with this opportunity to spend time at such an amazing place. Finally, I want to thank Mrs. Hughes and the Valentine Museum for letting me get hands on experience.

Phylicia Winston recently shadowed Curator of Archives Meg Hughes at the Valentine in Richmond. 

“Monumental” Exhibition Explores the Role of Richmond’s Monuments

June 21, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Monumental Exhibition Explores the Role of Richmond’s Monuments


Washington Monument. January 3, 1980. Photo: Gary Burns, V.85.37.1475, Richmond Times-Dispatch Collection, The Valentine

RICHMOND – A new exhibition looking at the role and context of Richmond’s monuments opens at the Valentine on the Fourth of July.

Through images, objects and multimedia, Monumental: Richmond’s Monuments (1607-2018) examines the city’s many public monuments, beginning with the Newport Cross and concluding with the planned Emancipation Monument on Brown’s Island. This timely exhibition will spur important reflections about what we have chosen to commemorate and what we have chosen to forget.

“As the debate involving monuments continues across the nation and right here in Richmond, we are excited to use this exhibition to provide important historical context,” said David Voelkel, the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections. “Our goal is to allow the public to make up their own minds about the role these monuments play in our community in 2018.”

Richmond’s monuments have continued to spark debate and generate attention, interest and outcry.  With the imminent release of Mayor Stoney’sMonument Avenue Commission’s report, this exhibition opens to the public at a pivotal time for the Richmond community.

“Our mission as an institution has always been to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by using Richmond’s past to inform the present and improve the future,” said Director Bill Martin. “This exhibition examines the context of these structures to discover exactly what they meant to us in the past and what they mean to us today, and the Valentine is committed to serving the community as a space to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about our city’s complicated history.”