Valentine Intern Spotlight: Susan Shibut

Susan Shibut, the Valentine’s new PR & Marketing Intern, writes about her dedication to sharing Richmond’s complicated history

Hello! My name is Susan Shibut and I am excited to get started in my new position as the Public Relations and Marketing intern here at the Valentine. I’m a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University where I am studying communications with a history minor. In my time here in Richmond I have fallen in love with this city and couldn’t be happier with this opportunity to learn about it and engage with the community.

In my search for an internship the Valentine stood out as an institution with an inspiring mission. There are plenty of opportunities where I could’ve gotten people coffee and written fluffy blogs, but this would be a chance for me to be a part of challenging a narrative and making an impact. I wanted experience that would teach me something, not just look shiny on a resume.

It is so important to always explain history in an accurate and nuanced way, and that’s something Virginia and Richmond specifically have struggled with and often failed at. Virginia’s state-issued history textbook “Virginia: History, Government, Geography,” unabashedly supported the “Lost Cause” myth from 1957 until phased out in the 1970s. The textbook claimed enslaved people, sometimes referred to as “servants,” were happy, content and didn’t work hard because they didn’t fear losing their jobs. That textbook is estimated to have reached more than a million students, so it’s not surprising that the inaccuracies it perpetuated still pop up in education and public discourse today.

Poor interpretation of history has had lasting effects on Richmond, reflected in everything from the statues on Monument Avenue to the zoning of our school system. I hope that with my work at the Valentine I can help take personal and professional initiative to challenge historical failures and build a better, less editorialized interpretation that is accessible to anyone who wants to learn. As I get closer to graduating I am focused on learning how to convey accurate stories, sometimes only armed with sources that don’t necessarily stand up to appropriate standards of truth and integrity. The complicated, painful nature of Richmond’s history and the nation’s history can make this difficult and uncomfortable—and that’s a discomfort that I’ve felt personally, not just in academic or professional writing but in conversations with friends and family. The water has been seriously muddied by years of revisionism, avoidance and myth-making. I want to be a part of making something better, more truthful, and more inclusive than what we’ve seen in the past.

Our vision statement says it best—we are using the past to inform the present and shape the future. I believe that looking back will push us to look forward. I love this city, and it’s a privilege to join the Valentine in trying to make it better.

Susan is the PR & Marketing Intern at the Valentine in Richmond.

“Where in the World is the Valentine?” Part 6: Don’t Trust Google

Don’t trust Google.

We know what you’ve been thinking all summer:

“I really need to get down to the Valentine. There’s that ‘controversial’ Monument Avenue exhibition on display and I read that article in Style Weekly about the Cook Photograph Collection. There’s even that exhibition with the working Costume and Textiles Lab!”

But you’ve been putting it off because of the ongoing construction. Please make plans to visit and just enjoy the adventure.

But keep in mind: it’s getting a little weird. There have been alarming reports of shape-shifting buildings and disappearing streets. The old Richmond Eye and Ear Hospital disappeared one week and the new VCU Children’s Hospital started appearing the next. Remember the Virginia Treatment Center for Children? It’s gone and a new VCU Adult Outpatient building is already replacing it. And then there are the streets. Well, sometimes there are streets. Other times, just a lot of parking cones, yellow tape and dust.

But despite all these changes to the neighborhood, the one thing that we are sure of is that the Valentine and our exciting exhibitions and programs aren’t going anywhere.

So just a piece of advice: ignore Google Maps. Instead, go ahead and get lost in this great neighborhood, enjoy the evolving Court End area, take in all the VCUHealth developments and discover a new stories about our city.

In this blog series, we’ve touched on a few: the Egyptian Building, Abraham Lincoln’s visit to Richmond and more. But those stories just scratch the surface.

Eventually, you’ll find us and you’ll get a medal (and a good dose of Richmond Stories) for all your efforts. See you soon!

Our friend Beau Cribbs finally found his way to the Valentine and received his medal!

Four: A Constitution Day Reflection

Most standard biographies of Doctor James McClurg (1747-1823) begin with his accomplished medical career, friendship with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and mention his participation in the American Revolution as a physician. Some detail his attendance at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, noting that he left without signing the final document. This brief biography will start with a number: Four.

The Doctor James McClurg Bedchamber in the Wickham House at the Valentine.

That is the number of enslaved people that McClurg owned toward the end of his life. The 1820 census detailed that James McClurg held four in bondage while residing with his son-in-law and daughter, John and Elizabeth Wickham. One young man was aged between 14 and 25. The other three were women over 45 years old. Whether they worked and lived on the Wickham’s property or elsewhere is not known. They might have been hired out to other families, not benefiting from the money they made for McClurg. The young man might have been his forced to wash, dress, and feed the elderly McClurg, possibly even sleeping in his room each night (notice the pallet on the floor at the foot of the bed in the photo above).

So it is clear that James McClurg did not leave the Constitutional Convention in late July 1787 because he opposed slavery. He and the other Virginians at the summer-long meeting in Philadelphia supported preserving the domestic slave trade. Instead, they worked to ensure that an enslaved individual would count as only 3/5 of a free person in order to determine representation in Congress. So why did he leave? After months of working on the document, McClurg disagreed with the length of the President’s term (he thought it should be for life), and he believed the federal government should be able to veto state laws. He and James Madison exchanged letters about these issues. Madison sent him a copy of the Constitution in October 1787. We do not know how the four enslaved people he owned felt about any of these issues. Nor do we know how they learned of the newly-created United States of America. Their letters, stories, and opinions do not survive.

McClurg was a Federalist, meaning an advocate for a strong central government that would oversee the then-13 states. He and the other delegates created a document that provided structure and simultaneously crafted a process to amend it. After ratifying the initial Constitution in 1788, the states set about changing it immediately, adding ten amendments largely based on the proposals of Virginia’s George Mason. But the Bill of Rights (ratified on December 15, 1791), as revolutionary as it was, still did not apply to McClurg’s enslaved man and women. They could not enjoy freedom of speech or assembly. They certainly were not allowed to petition the government to redress their grievances.

V.92.52, Dr. James McClurg, Painted by Cephas Thompson, Circa 1810, The Valentine

Thirty-eight delegates* signed the final draft of the Constitution on September 17, 1787. It would be 74 years before the 13th Amendment abolished American slavery in 1865. Three years later, the 14th Amendment provided citizenship and equal protection for those persons born or naturalized in the United States. In 1870, the 15th Amendment gave the vote to men, no matter their “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” If you’re counting, that’s over 83 years before one of the four enslaved members of James McClurg’s household significantly benefited from the ideals of the new nation. And the three women? Unless they were wealthy and educated, the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, did not benefit many African-American women in Richmond. They were turned away by poll taxes, vague “understanding clauses,” and other restrictive measures provided in Virginia’s 1902 Constitution. It is not until federal laws, enacted during the 1960s, along with the 1964 ratification of the 24th amendment (outlawing poll taxes) that McClurg’s four enslaved likely would have achieved full-citizenship. 177 years and 5 amendments later, “We the People” finally included African-Americans and women (as well as Native Americans and persons of color).

As we observe Constitution Day today, we can honor the living, breathing document that James McClurg and his colleagues created and expected to be altered while also acknowledging the harsh reality of James McClurg’s endorsement of and participation in the slave trade. We can celebrate the revolutionary ideas contained in the Constitution while also celebrating the descendants of the four who sought freedom and worked hard to finally put into practice the ideals enshrined in this founding document. Hopefully, today, we can seek to enjoy the “blessings of liberty” while renewing our efforts to create “a more perfect Union.”

*George Read signed for an absent John Dickinson. 39 signatures were added by 38 men. Three Virginians signed the Constitution: George Washington, John Blair, and James Madison.

“Where in the World is the Valentine?” Part 5: Rearing its Ugly Head

How do you really know that you’ve arrived at the Valentine? That’s easy.

As you make your way to that most beautiful block of 1100 East Clay in Richmond where the Valentine stands (and after you’ve traversed several closed sidewalks and lost your way several times), you will immediately be confronted by the ugliest building in the city. We’ve talked about cranes, closed streets, shifting sidewalks and event lost ghosts, but this edifice might be the real reason you’ve been having trouble finding us.

After all, it’s not hard to miss and it’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s the crumbling structure missing tiles and dead-ending East Clay Street. You know it as the City of Richmond’s Public Health and Safety Building.

 

Built in the 1960s and representing the worst of mid-century modern design, there is nothing healthy or safe about it. Not only is it an eyesore with its peeling walls and aging marble, but by plopping this building in the middle of Clay Street, it has served to isolate the Valentine and VCUHealth from the rest of downtown. Need proof? Here is a picture from the Valentine Archives of the gorgeous structure that stood on this spot before the Public Health and Safety Building went on to eventually fill the space:

FIC.033739, Purcell Hoe at NW corner of 10th and Clay Streets, Mary Wingfield Scott, The Valentine

Whatever your stance on the proposed Navy Hill redevelopment project, we can all agree that the City and the Valentine both deserve better than the existing sub-standard structure and its surrounding parking lots.

So as part of your “Where in the World is the Valentine?” adventure, walk around the Court End Neighborhood, take a look at Richmond’s ugliest building and consider the proposed plan for the area. If we are going to make informed decisions about this important and historic neighborhood, there nothing like seeing it for yourself.

And by visiting the Valentine, you have the opportunity to learn from our city’s history, explore both our successes and our failures and put those lessons to work for our shared community.

Also, you’ll get a medal. So that alone is worth the price of admission.

Richmond History Makers and Community Update Celebrates Fifteenth Anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2019

Contact:
Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

Richmond History Makers and Community Update Celebrates Fifteenth Anniversary

The Valentine is partnering with the Community Foundation for the 2020 program

RICHMOND –Nominations are now open for the Richmond History Makers and Community Update. Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary, the program recognizes individuals and organizations making substantive and lasting contributions to the Greater Richmond region.

This year, The Valentine will partner with the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond to highlight the work of six honorees and provide an update on the projects and programs making a difference across the region. The six honorees will be recognized at a community celebration taking place at Virginia Union University on March 10, 2020.

“The Valentine is excited to collaborate with the Community Foundation to recognize the good work being done across the region while providing an overview of the life-changing work taking place right here in the community,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “We are looking forward to this new partnership, celebrating the event’s fifteenth anniversary, recognizing six new honorees and sharing transformational Richmond stories.”

“Partnering with the Valentine to celebrate history makers and share about successes across the region seemed like a natural fit,” said Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer with the Community Foundation. “Richmond History Makers gives us that feel good moment, year after year, to recognize many of the innovative and collaborative efforts that are moving our region forward and we are proud to join in the celebration.”

“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 our region on the unique activities and projects that are making a difference and recognizing residents and organizations that are creating the impact.”

Nominations for the 2020 Richmond History Makers & Community Update are being accepted September 4 through October 25. You can learn more about the program, view past honorees and nominate your own Richmond history maker at RichmondHistoryMakers.com.

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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. https://thevalentine.org/

About the Community Foundation
The Community Foundation is a leading partner and advocate for philanthropy and service in the Richmond region. Founded in 1968, the Community Foundation has built a strong legacy of helping people and institutions give back with passion and purpose. https://www.cfrichmond.org/

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. http://www.lmronline.org/

Time Travelers: Free Admission to 19 Historic Sites in the Richmond Region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2019

Contact:
Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

Time Travelers: Free Admission to 19 Historic Sites in the Richmond Region

RICHMOND – Time Travelers is a biannual Richmond Region tradition that invites tourists and locals to discover treasures spanning 400 years of fascinating history, including historic homes, sites and other one-of-a-kind attractions. During this event, which coincides with the annual Smithsonian’s Museum Day, a wide variety of the area’s historic sites will offer visitors a “Passport” to visit each site for free, September 21-22.

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 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 with a musical theme, 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 is open Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun. 12:30-5 p.m. For more information, visit www.agecrofthall.org. To reserve a specific tour time, call 804-353-4241.

The American Civil War Museum’s White House of the Confederacy
The White House of the Confederacy, which is owned and operated by the American Civil War Museum, is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The House was home to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and his family from August 1861 until the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. It served as the political and social epicenter of wartime Richmond. With the end of the war, the House was headquarters for the U.S. Army of Occupation and became the headquarters for Military District No.1 during Reconstruction. In1870, the U.S. Government gave the House back to the City of Richmond, which used the building for its Central School until 1894. The Confederate Memorial Literary Society took possession of the property and established the Confederate Museum, which opened to the public in February, 1986. In 1976, restorations began on the House which reopened to the public in 1988.

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design (2501 Monument Avenue—enter parking lot on Robinson Street or Park Avenue). The John Kerr Branch House is a 27,000 sq. ft. Tudor Revival Style structure designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope, with construction completed in 1919. On Saturday, September 21 from 10AM-2PM, experience a Time Travelers family build day. Family members can work in teams or in competition to complete design challenges using materials like uncooked spaghetti or gumdrops. Visitors can also tour the public areas of the National Historic Landmark and complete a scavenger hunt with riddles you’ll need the whole family to solve! For questions, call 804-655-6055 or visit www.branchmuseum.org.

The Chesterfield County Museum and Historic Jail
The Chesterfield Museum is a reproduction of the colonial courthouse of 1749. A special changing exhibit highlights Chesterfield during WWI. The Old Jail, built in 1892, includes a changing exhibit “Chesterfield Remembers WWI” on display. Upstairs, visitors may view cells as they were when they housed their last prisoners in 1962. Both sites will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call the County Museum and Historic Jail at (804) 768-7311 or visit www.chesterfieldhistory.com.

Chimborazo Medical Museum (Richmond National Battlefield Park)
Chimborazo became one of the Civil War’s largest military hospitals. 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 www.nps.gov/rich.

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 www.henrico.us/rec.

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 www.henrico.us/rec.

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 www.henrico.us/rec.

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 www.henrico.us/rec.

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 www.poemuseum.org for more information about our exhibits and upcoming events.

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 visitwww.historicstjohnschurch.org.

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 1907.  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.   Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy Quoits and cornhole yard games, and open house tours. This year Ardent Brewery will be on hand selling Old Molasses Ale with proceeds benefitting The Robes Project, a fundraising effort to restore and preserve the judicial robes of 4th Chief Justice, John Marshall. For more information, call (804) 648-7998 or visit www.preservationvirginia.com/marshall

Magnolia Grange
Magnolia Grange, built in 1822 and located in Chesterfield County, is a Federal-style plantation house and is noted for its distinctive architecture. Magnolia Grange will be open 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 12 – 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call Magnolia Grange at (804) 748-1498.

 

 

 

 

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 www.nps.gov/mawa.

Maymont
Experience the upstairs, downstairs world of Downton Abbey – without leaving Richmond! Discover the fascinating story of Maymont, a restored 1893 Gilded Age mansion given to the City of Richmond by James and Sallie Dooley. Guided tours reveal the amazing furnishings in the Dooleys’ home – including Tiffany stained glass and a swan bed – while intertwining the story of their lives with that of the African American staff who worked in service at the turn-of-the-20th century. The surrounding landscape features Italian and Japanese gardens, a carriage display, Virginia wildlife exhibits, a Farm and the Nature & Visitor Center. Carriage rides, period fashions and pastimes bring the era to life. 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 www.maymont.org. Last tour begins at 4:30. Fees for carriage rides.

Meadow Farm Museum at Crump Park
Meadow Farm is an 1860 living historical farm focusing on rural Virginia life just before the upheaval of the Civil War. Interpreters provide insights into the lives of Dr. John Mosby Sheppard, his family and those who were enslaved at the farm. Meadow Farm Museum will be open 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and is located at 3400 Mountain Road. For more information call (804) 652-1455 or visit www.henrico.us/rec.

Virginia Randolph House
The Virginia Randolph Museum honors Randolph’s work as a pioneer educator for 50 years, a humanitarian, and a creative leader in the field of education. The structure, built in 1937 was declared a National Historic landmark in 1976. 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 www.henrico.us/rec.

The Valentine and Wickham House
The Wickham House, built in 1812, is a spectacular example of 19th-century Federal architecture. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the Wickham House explores the lives of both the Wickham Family and the home’s many enslaved occupants. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine, Jr., and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. 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 www.thevalentine.org.

The Valentine First Freedom Center
The Valentine First Freedom Center delves 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 www.thevalentine.org/firstfreedomcenter.

“Where in the World is the Valentine?” Part 4: Cranes Find a Way

No matter how many wrong turns you make, closed sidewalks you avoid or yellow tape you ignore in your valiant attempts to find the Valentine, sooner or later, you’ll spot them. And you’re not the only one.

Be quiet! One of the new Great Yellow Cranes is roosting right in front of the Valentine.

Birdwatchers are flocking to the Valentine in the historic Court End neighborhood to get a rare glance at the new nesting area for one of the greatest of ornithological wonders: the Great Yellow Crane. While seen from time to time in other parts of the city, the Valentine is at the center of one of the largest rookeries for this amazing species.

While there are just three who have made their home nearby, we are expecting more arrivals this fall, eager to roost and change the landscape in the process. Our Great Yellow Cranes can now be seen at the construction sites of the VCU Outpatient Clinic and the Virginia General Assembly Office Building. We are also anticipating the arrival of two new chicks where the new Children’s Hospital is being built.

In fact, today we spotted the very rare Miniature Black Crane hatchling taking a rest right near the Children’s Hospital Grounds (pictured below). All of these cranes can be very large, very threatening and can sometimes make very weird sounds. They’re also very slow, so it’s easy to avoid them.

The Miniature Black Crane in its natural habitat.

But these cranes are particularly special, because they’re not from the rookery on the James River. We’re taking about construction cranes. The Valentine’s neighborhood is always undergoing some sort of change, but we are still here telling the stories of Richmond.  If you think about it, with the Virginia State Capitol, the Executive Mansion, the John Marshall House, the American Civil War Museum’s White House of the Confederacy and Monumental Church all in the same neighborhood, if we’re not the natural habitat for wild cranes, we’re definitely the natural habitat for American history.

Bring your binoculars, take some time to enjoy the “wildlife” springing up near the Valentine and remember: the cranes are more afraid of you than you are of them. Enjoy the scenery as you make your way to the Valentine; it’s all a part of the great adventure!

Discover the Valentine (and our cranes) for yourself this weekend…

“Where in the World is the Valentine?” Part 3: Walk Like an Egyptian!

Make another wrong turn trying to find the Valentine? Don’t fret, everyone does.

Not to worry; there are interesting surprises everywhere, especially in this neighborhood.

So you’re lost once again in Court End, and this time, after taking a few wrong turns, avoiding a few closed streets and trying to avoid all the large cranes (more on that in another blog post), it looks like you’ve stumbled into…Egypt?

You’re eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. You might be on a modern day street corner in Richmond in 2019, but towering before you is indeed an Ancient Egyptian Temple…sort of.

Egyptian Building, Medical College of Virginia, Late-19th century, E. Marshall and College Streets, Richmond, Virginia, Cook Collection 0800

The Egyptian Building was built in 1845 for the new Medical College of Virginia, today a part of Virginia Commonwealth University’s MCV Campus. This image is from the late-19th century and the building appears in this photo from the Cook Collection in much the same fashion as it does today.

A National Historic Landmark, the Egyptian Building is considered an important example of the Egyptian Revival style of architecture. Richmonders were fascinated by science, history and archaeology when the building was constructed, so what better way to acknowledge the early Egyptian origins of medicine than with this amazing, historic building?

If you’re fine with putting off your search for the Valentine a few more minutes, take a peek inside and amidst the shadows, you may even spot that early Egyptian physician Imhotep himself.

Take your time. Those road closures aren’t going anywhere. We’ll see you soon and once you track us down, we’ll have your medal waiting.

“Where in the World is the Valentine?” Part 2: Lincoln Lost

So you find yourself walking through historic Court End, searching for the Valentine. You’re side-stepping traffic cones and crossing the street to avoid yet another “Sidewalk Closed” sign. You’re just about to give up, when you spot something…

President Lincoln Entering Richmond, April 4, 1865, by Thomas Nast. Published in Harper’s Weekly, February 24, 1866. V.45.28.345. Hibbs Collection, The Valentine.

Did you just see Lincoln’s ghost? Who is that with him?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.

On April 4, 1865, as the city was still smoldering from the evacuation fires at the tail end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad arrived in a smoldering Richmond.

Imagine what it would have been like as he walked through the streets to come to the realization that the Civil War that had consumed the city, the nation and his Presidency was finally ending. Lincoln and Tad entered the city from the James River (in the area where Bottoms Up Pizza is today) and made their way to the U. S. military headquarters that had been established in the former residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (now known as the American Civil War Museum’s White House of the Confederacy).

If you see the spirits of Lincoln and Tad wandering aimlessly as you start your visit to the Valentine, don’t worry; they’re lost just like you.

The neighborhood has changed so much since 1865 and it’s continuing to change day by day. Who knows? If you’re lucky, Lincoln’s ghost might be able to give you a few pointers on how to avoid closed sidewalks without tumbling into the road.

But as much as the Court End neighborhood has changed, you can still walk the incredible streets with all of those that built Richmond’s history and discover those stories and more at the Valentine.

If you make it, you not only receive a dose of Richmond Stories, you’ll win a medal!

Richmond Museum Launches “Where in the World is the Valentine?” Series

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2019

Contact:
Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

Richmond Museum Launches “Where in the World is the Valentine?” Series

Promotion will use ongoing construction in the Court End Neighborhood to highlight local history

RICHMOND – A new promotional series from the Valentine launches today. “Where in the World is the Valentine?” features irreverent and informative blogs written by Valentine Director Bill Martin, focused on the ongoing construction in the neighborhood and the transformation of the VCUHealth campus, featuring topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln’s lost ghost to disappearing streets. The introductory blog can be read here.

Starting next week, local writer and comedian Beau Cribbs will appear in Facebook live videos that tie into the content of the weekly series. These videos will be accessible on the Valentine’s Facebook page.

Running Tuesday, August 6 through Tuesday, September 10, the “Where in the World is the Valentine?” series will cover unique Richmond stories on several online platforms.

Martin took Greg McQuade of WTVR CBS 6 on a walk through the neighborhood amidst the construction and discussed the aim of the new series.

“As the historic Court End Neighborhood continues to undergo dramatic changes, we wanted to use the images and stories in our collection to give visitors a new way to interact with the Valentine and other nearby institutions,” Martin said. “This blog series will give Richmonders the opportunity to have fun with the ongoing construction while attempting to navigate the neighborhood, learn more about Richmond and accept the challenge of finding the Valentine.”

Over the next six weeks, the Valentine will be releasing unique, funny and educational blogs, each authored by Martin, which will focus on highlighting a local story visitors might stumble upon as a result of getting “lost” in the Court End Neighborhood.

When attendees finally arrive at the Valentine, they will be awarded medals for being courageous enough to overcome construction, road closures and other adventures in order to discover Richmond Stories.

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About the Valentine

For over a century, the Valentine has aimed to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by collecting, preserving, and interpreting Richmond’s history. From exhibitions and programs to special events and  https://thevalentine.org/.