Our Adult Programs and Tours Manager Explains the #19forthe19th Challenge

Last month, the U.S. National Archives launched a creative, 19 week long Instagram Challenge inviting the public to share stories of amazing women in celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The Valentine eagerly accepted the challenge and our staff is excited to share stories of Richmond women. For those who may not be familiar, an Instagram challenge is a single or series of photo prompts for each day over time. The entire Instagram community is invited to participate using the prompts which are hashtagged and easily followed or searched. If you’re never seen an Instagram challenge, just click here to see how it works.

Institutionally, these challenges are a great way to share content with new audiences. Personally, they are an easy way to explore topics of interest and discover stories from all over the country or world. A simple search on Instagram for #19forthe19th will show posts from the University of Washington Special Collections to the Kansas Historical Society, all highlighting women you may know well and some you may have never heard of before.

Like all museums, the Valentine is only able to display a small portion of its collection at any one time. That’s why social media has become the perfect, virtual space to share these wonderful stories while they remain physically stored away for safekeeping.

Our first entry in the #19thforthe19th Challenge shared the story of Marii Hasegawa. V.88.68.67, [Peace Protester], Richmond Newspapers, Inc., January 16, 1987

From #WomenInSTEM to #DefenderofHumanRights, the #19forthe19th weekly topics provide a great opportunity to dig through the Valentine’s archives and collections to shed light on incredible Richmond women and share their accomplishments with the world (well, the Instagram world at least). The prompts thus far have allowed us to share the stories of peace advocate Marii Kyogoku Hasegawa, the armor-clad Virtus on the Virginia state flag and Eleanor Parker Sheppard, the first woman mayor of Richmond.

But even after you’ve explored the #19forthe19th hashtag, there are many other ways to engage with these important stories. At the Valentine this year, you can experience Leading Women of Richmond, a two part series in our Interactive History Program available upon request. You can also enjoy  Stories of Trailblazing Richmond Women, a special Richmond History tour being offered on October 12 and October 20.

We hope you’ll consider following the #19forth19th challenge and even contributing yourself!

Amanda Vtipilson is the Adult Programs and Tours Manager at the Valentine in Richmond.

The Art of the Handwritten Note

The Valentine’s Museum Store Manager shares her thoughts on the living art of the handwritten note

New Biba Letterpress Stationery (complete with quills) in the 1812 Wickham House.

With the hustle and bustle of life in 2019, one might begin to think that handwritten letters are a thing of the past – a “dying art.”  However, the art of the handwritten note is what brings the form alive today more than the long, conversational letters of times past.

Today, a handwritten note can be short and sweet. After all, it’s the unspoken messages that really count. That’s where this new project comes in!

Get inspired to write friends and family a handwritten note on the exclusive letterpress stationery inspired by the re-created wallpaper in the McClurg Bedchamber of the historic 1812 Wickham House. locally crafted by Biba Letterpress, the beautiful details from the “Wickham Stripe” wallpaper come alive on gorgeous, weighted paper that is both a pleasure to write on and to share.

So what makes the handwritten note an art anyway?

Like the best art, the handwritten note comes from the heart. Handwritten messages carry more weight (both literally and figuratively) and are often convey more sincerity. Think about all of the Facebook birthday wishes you receive versus that special handwritten card you receive from your grandmother. They don’t begin to compare, do they?

The handwritten note is more open. It allows the reader to think and ponder and feel, much how art requests that the viewer think and ponder and feel. It is also courteous; a handwritten note does not demand an instant reply for fear of getting lost in an onslaught of emails.

Packaged Biba Letterpress Stationery, based on the re-created wallpaper in the McClurg Bedchamber.

The handwritten note is more expressive. You reveal yourself in your handwriting, the words you choose, the pen you choose, the paper you choose and even the stamp you choose to send it. Art is about what the artist has chosen to express, so why not let your own personality and sincerity shine?

The handwritten note stands out. It is both classic and rebellious at the same time. Ink on paper is still considered the most formal way to express our thoughts, and yet taking the time to write a letter is a distinct act of defiance against day-to-day emailing, texting and other technology-based forms of communication.

Become a handwritten note artist today! The Valentine Museum Store has all the stationery and fountain pens (pictured below) you will need to inspire and drive your creative communication.

Brianna Landes is the Museum Store Manager at the Valentine in Richmond.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Rebekah Hale

The Valentine’s new PR & Marketing intern talks historic preservation and her passion for encouraging meaningful dialogue

Randolph-Macon student and PR & Marketing intern Rebekah Hale

My name is Rebekah Hale, and I am a rising senior at Randolph-Macon College. I am so excited to be working as the Public Relations and Marketing intern at the Valentine this summer.

As a classical studies and archaeology major, I have had the opportunity to meaningfully explore our complex history, which has instilled within me a deep-seated appreciation for the study and preservation of cultural heritage. Throughout my academic exploration, I have had to confront and grapple with the many competing interests and ethical dilemmas facing those in the field of cultural heritage preservation. After reflecting on these issues and their impact on our study, preservation and interpretation of the past, I have come to find that engaging with these issues, while difficult, is of paramount importance to ensuring continual progress in the field. Ultimately, the future of cultural heritage preservation lies in our ability to articulate its value through dialogue with our community, which will inspire the public to assist in transmitting our cultural heritage to future generations.

Having grown up in the Richmond area, I have always been interested in the historical and cultural treasures which Richmond has to offer. In addition to my deep appreciation for our history, I also have a passion for communicating the importance of our cultural materials, which allow us to connect with our past in a meaningful way. After graduation, I intend to pursue a career in legal advocacy work in the field of cultural heritage, so I am thrilled to spend my summer at the Valentine, where I will be able to gain a nuanced understanding of the inner-workings of the museum. In addition to acquiring a holistic overview of the various departments of the museum, I am looking forward to assisting the Valentine in the goal of engendering a meaningful dialogue about Richmond’s past. The Valentine remains a cultural institution which understands the importance of engaging with multifaceted issues and igniting community-wide conversations about the complex history of Richmond, and it is my hope that I will be able to encourage public conversations about Richmond’s cultural and historic legacy so that our history can continue to be explored, grappled with and preserved for years to come.

In my role as the Public Relations and Marketing intern at the Valentine, I am most eager to communicate the significance of Richmond’s history through dialogue with the general public. Richmond has such an immense and complex history, and I am excited to take part in connecting with the people of Richmond through the preservation of our cultural remains and valuable conversations about our past. I look forward to spending the summer fostering meaningful and timely conversations in the Richmond community which will serve to cultivate greater appreciation and understanding of Richmond’s unique history and culture.

Rebekah Hale is the current PR & Marketing intern at the Valentine in Richmond.