Time Travelers: Free Admission to 24 Historic Sites Across the Richmond Region

February 24, 2020

Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications

Time Travelers: Free Admission to 24 Historic Sites Across the Richmond Region

RICHMOND – Locals and tourists alike are invited to enjoy unique history, fascinating stories and a journey into the past during the biannual Time Travelers weekend, March 14-15.

Explore new participating sites and old favorites this year as 24 historic homes, churches, museums and more open their doors to visitors across the Richmond Region. Each site will offer free admission to those visitors presenting a Time Travelers Passport available via download on participating locations’ websites. Additionally, several participating sites have developed new programming in observance of Women’s History Month. Download the passport, explore local history and get to know the Richmond Region, free of charge.

Participating locations include (new participating sites marked with an asterisk):

Agecroft Hall & Gardens
Agecroft Hall was built in England in the 1500s, then 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 St. Patrick’s Day theme, stroll the gardens overlooking the James River, explore the Sunroom Exhibit, get hands-on in the Tudor Kitchen and shop in the museum store. 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
Explore the Civil War and its legacies in microcosm at the White House of the Confederacy, owned and operated by the American Civil War Museum (open daily from 10am to 4pm). It was home to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, place of labor of enslaved and free African Americans, and epicenter for society and politics in wartime Richmond. After the war, the house was also part of the U.S. Reconstruction headquarters, one of the first public schools in Virginia, and opened as a museum in 1896. More information: www.acwm.org.

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
The John Kerr Branch House is a Tudor Revival Style structure designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope. Visitors can enjoy guided tours every hour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and free admission all weekend. For questions, call 804-655-6055 or visit www.branchmuseum.org.

The Chesterfield County Museum
The Chesterfield Museum is a reproduction of the colonial courthouse of 1749. A special changing exhibit highlights Chesterfield during WWI. The museum 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.

The Chesterfield County Historic Jail
Upstairs, visitors may view cells as they were when they housed their last prisoners in 1962. The Old Jail, built in 1892, includes a changing exhibit “Chesterfield Remembers WWI” on display. The jail 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. A museum on the same grounds as the old hospital contains original medical instruments and personal artifacts. Other displays include a scale model of the hospital and a short film on medical 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, Wednesday through Sunday, 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 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. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. and is located at 904 McCoul Street. 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 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 and then as a police station. 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. 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.

Henricus Historical Park
Voyage back in time 400 years to the Citie of Henricus, the second successful English settlement in the New World! In 1611, 300 musketeers led by Sir Thomas Dale arrived in the struggling Virginia colony to establish a new capital far from the unhealthy swamps of Jamestown. Henricus Historical Park re-creates this historical journey and highlights the major benchmarks that took place here over 400 years ago. Historical interpretation pays tribute to the colonists who desperately struggled to establish a foothold in England’s western frontier and the Virginia Indians who encountered them. www.henricus.org.

 Historic St. John’s Church
A year before drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson attended the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church. Alongside George Washington, Richard Henry Lee and other figures of the American Revolution, Jefferson heard Patrick Henry deliver his now-famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech. This speech ignited the American Revolution, making St. John’s a landmark for the universal struggle for human rights. It is now a National Historic Landmark. The Church, Visitor Center and Gift Shop will be open Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, call 804-648-5015 or visit www.historicstjohnschurch.org.

The John Marshall House
John Marshall is best known as the “Great Chief Justice” for his role in creating the modern Supreme Court. His influential decisions, such as Marbury v. Madison, helped shape the principle of judicial review. With the largest collection of original Marshall family pieces, his home offers an in-depth look at the formation of American government through the lens of the federal judiciary. 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. Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy Quoits, cornhole yard games and open house tours. For more information, call (804) 648-7998 or visit www.johnmarshallhouse.org.

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, 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.

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.

Experience the upstairs, downstairs world 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 remarkable women like Sallie Dooley, renown hostess and horticulturist, and Frances Walker, the African American mother of eight who worked as the Dooleys’ head cook. Located at 1700 Hampton Street, Maymont Mansion will be open Sat.-Sun. 12-5 pm; last tour begins at 4:30. For more information, call 804-358-7166 ext. 310 or visit www.maymont.org. Saturday-Sunday, March 14-15, 12-5pm

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.

*Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown
Scotchtown turns 300 this year! It is the only original standing home of Patrick Henry, patriot and orator of the American Revolution, open to the public. He conceived his most influential revolutionary ideas here, including his famous “Liberty or Death” speech.  Built around 1720 by Charles Chiswell, Scotchtown is architecturally unique, featuring eight large rooms and a central passage below a large, undivided attic. The house is surrounded by reproduction outbuildings and gardens for you to explore. Scotchtown 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 16120 Chiswell Lane, Beaverdam, VA. For more information, call (804) 227-3500 or visit www.patrickhenryscotchtown.org

The Poe Museum
The Poe Museum is illuminating Poe for everyone, evermore. Many cities claim Edgar Allan Poe, but Poe claimed Richmond as his home. We house and display the largest museum collection of Poe memorabilia in the world. Visit www.poemuseum.org for more information.

*St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
In 1843, a committee from Monumental Church on Broad St. was commissioned to establish a new church as the city moved westward. When it opened in 1845, St. Paul’s Episcopal became the largest Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Virginia and is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture.  Later renovations added stained glass windows including ten by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  A portion of the church was used as a hospital during the Civil War and by the USO during World War II.  St. Paul’s is on the Virginia Landmarks Register, the National Register of Historic Places and continues to be an active parish. The church is located at 815 East Grace Street and will be open Sunday, March 15, from 12:00 to 4:30 p.m. Visit www.stpaul’srva.org for more information.

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
A National Historic Landmark built in 1812, the Wickham House challenges guests to explore aspects of life in the early 19th century. The Wickham House was purchased by Mann Valentine Jr. and in 1898 became the first home of the Valentine Museum. This historic home allows the Valentine to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more. 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. The Valentine’s current exhibitions, Valentine Garden, Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio and the Valentine Store will also be open. 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 in 1786. Outside, a 27-foot spire, a wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute, and a 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.

The Wilton House Museum
The c.1753 Wilton house was home to members of the Randolph family and four generations of enslaved African American families for more than 100 years and the centerpiece of a 2,000 acre tobacco plantation. Today, Wilton continues to serve as an example of Georgian architecture, headquarters to the Virginia Dames, and host to public programs and educational exhibits. To find out more about Wilton House Museum’s events and opportunities, visit http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org

Black History Month 2020 Gallery Guide

For the second year in a row, we are providing Valentine visitors with these gallery guides (both at our front desk and for download HERE) that highlight just a portion of the objects, images and stories on display that help to tell the history of Richmond’s Black community.

This Black History Month Gallery Guide focuses on objects in our lobby, our permanent exhibition, as well as content you can discover in our two newest exhibitions. Yet even as we celebrate February as Black History Month, it is crucial that we tell these stories and share these histories all the time, with diverse audiences and in a variety of contexts. Confronting our uncomfortable past and honoring individuals and organizations deserving of celebration is an endeavor we are committed to year round.

We hope you will use this guide as a jumping off point to discover, celebrate and reflect on some of the stories throughout the museum, both tragic and triumphant, of Richmond’s Black community.

2020 Richmond History Makers Announced

January 27, 2020

Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications

2020 Richmond History Makers Announced

The honorees for the Valentine’s 15th annual celebration represent a diverse range of experiences, expertise and engagement

RICHMOND – Today, the Valentine announced the six honorees that will be recognized at the 15th Annual Richmond History Makers & Community Update. This program promotes and celebrates the bold, innovative and often unsung work of individuals and organizations who strive to improve their communities.

On Tuesday, March 10th at Virginia Union University, the honorees will be celebrated in a room full of family, friends, local leaders, community advocates, non-profit representatives and more [tickets available HERE].

“After 15 years recognizing the best the Richmond Region has to offer, we are more excited than ever to celebrate our 2020 honorees,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Our new partnership with the Community Foundation, our return to Virginia Union University and our incredible group of winners are all a part of the Valentine’s wider goal of supporting and strengthening this program through continued community engagement.”

The 15th anniversary of this program also marks the first time the Valentine has partnered with the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond to provide an update on the progress  being made across the region.

“Celebrating the Richmond History Makers honorees is a perfect way to reflect on the progress we’ve made as a city as well as the issues that continue to require unified effort,” said Community Foundation Chief Community Engagement Officer Scott Blackwell. “By providing an update on where we are as a region, we can celebrate the honorees while inspiring others in the community to take action.”

The honorees were nominated by members of the Richmond community according to six categories and chosen by a Selection Committee made up of Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) graduates and former Richmond History Makers Honorees.

“We received nearly 100 nominations this year, and from that large pool of impressive candidates, six incredible honorees were chosen,” said Myra Goodman Smith of Leadership Metro Richmond. “LMR is honored be a part of this program for the 15th year in a row, and we look forward to joining with members of the Richmond community in recognizing these groundbreaking individuals and organizations.”

The 2020 Richmond History Makers and their categories include:

For Creating Quality Educational Opportunities:
ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation

For Championing Social Justice:
Tanya Gonzalez
The Sacred Heart Center

For Promoting Community Health:
Jeannette Cordor
Faces of HOPE

For Improving Regional Transportation:
Charles Rasnick

For Demonstrating Innovative Economic Solutions:
BLK RVA Action Team

For Advancing our Quality of Life:
Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia

Long-time Richmond History Makers sponsor Dominion Energy is returning as the event’s title sponsor. Lead sponsors include Altria, VCU Health and TowneBank.


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.

“Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic” Puts Faces and Stories to Richmond’s HIV/AIDS Crisis

January 15, 2020

Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications

Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic Puts Faces and Stories to Richmond’s HIV/AIDS Crisis

Valentine exhibition offers a nuanced look at Richmond’s HIV/AIDS epidemic through the stories of survivors, caregivers, activists and others on the front lines.

Rodney Lofton. August 2018. Photographed by Michael Simon for the Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic project.

RICHMOND —Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic, a new exhibition opening on January 23, will feature oral histories and black-and-white photographic portraits, focusing on the personal stories of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Richmond.

Richmond’s rate of HIV infection, currently ranked 19th nationally, is exacerbated by high concentrations of poverty, lack of sex education in public schools and the continuing opioid epidemic. Despite years of medical and social progress, misconceptions about HIV/AIDS persist today.

While Americans on average have a one-in-99 chance of contracting HIV over the course of their lifetime, the odds for a gay black man are one in two. Black women have a rate of HIV infection 17.6 times that of white women. In fact, in Richmond, women make up a quarter of new HIV diagnoses.

Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera, both professors at the University of Richmond, collected 30 oral histories in an effort to put faces to these surprising statistics.

“The process has transformed our understanding not only of the epidemic, but more broadly of the way people can turn what one assumes to be a life-destroying event into an opportunity for making change,” said Herrera. “Many of the people we met lived lives charged with purpose—including, most urgently, to prevent others from becoming infected with the virus.”

“Most people outside of the public health community think that HIV is a disease that primarily affects gay, white men. We learned how far from the reality that is,” Browder continued. “The people represented in the exhibition include great-grandmothers, undocumented immigrants, college professors, church deacons and transgendered people. They include public health officials, HIV educators, medical providers, activists, and those who have lost loved ones to HIV.”

Local photographer Michael Simon produced the black-and-white portraits that communicate the trials and triumphs of each person featured in Voices.

“These stories and these portraits are important to all of us,” said Simon. “These people are members of our community. They are friends and family and we need to remember that we are all in this fight together.”

“Featuring the powerful oral histories collected by Laura and Patricia and Michael’s phenomenal photography, we hope this exhibition contributes to an important ongoing discussion about the true impact of HIV/AIDS on the Richmond community,” Valentine Director Bill Martin said.

In coordination with the exhibition opening, Nationz Foundation, a local non-profit providing education, information and programming related to HIV, will be conducting free on-site HIV testing noon to 4 p. m. on Thursday, January 23 at the Valentine.

“Nationz Foundation is excited to partner with the Valentine Museum during the Voices exhibit!” said Nationz Foundation Executive Director Zakia McKensey. “It is extremely important to get tested. Knowing your status is one sure way to prevent the spread of the infection. We will be on site providing Rapid HIV testing for free, so please stop by and get your results in 60 seconds.”

Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic will be on display through May 25, 2020.

This project is funded in part by Virginia Humanities.

Support is also provided by University of Richmond, Office of the Provost and Dean’s Office, School of Arts & Sciences and the following generous sponsors. 


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.

Explore the Past on the Pulse Brings Richmonders Closer to History

January 8, 2020

Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications

Explore the Past on the Pulse Brings Richmonders Closer to History

Pulse riders are one scan away from experiencing Richmond history thanks to a partnership between the Valentine, GRTC and VCU

RICHMOND —Pulse riders can now experience Richmond History with a simple scan of their smartphone.

Thanks to an innovative partnership between the Valentine, GRTC and Virginia Commonwealth University, riders will be able to use QR codes at each of the 14 Pulse stops across the city to access easily-digestible Richmond stories.

Each QR code links riders to a web page showcasing nearby sites of interest, upcoming events and a brief history of the area, complete with archival photos.

“We’re so happy to be working with two such distinguished Richmond institutions,” GRTC Chief Executive Officer Julie Timm said. “GRTC is dedicated to serving the community, and this is another opportunity to help Richmonders navigate their city.”

The QR codes can be found on the glass map illustrations of each Pulse platform. The Valentine provided research support for the project, developing relevant, accessible content for each stop in a way that riders can easily interact with.

Explore the Past on the Pulse is about engaging riders and providing opportunities for Richmonders to learn more about the spaces and the neighborhoods they frequent,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “This project makes Richmond history more accessible because you don’t have to go track this information down. Instead, the information comes to you, wherever you are.”

Dr. John Kneebone, VCU professor emeritus, was instrumental in developing Explore the Past on the Pulse and worked with graduate students to develop an early iteration of the project.

“This project appealed to me as a teacher because my History graduate students could apply their skills and abilities to coursework with an obvious real-world application,” Dr. Kneebone said. “I tested the project the summer before class and it was very feasible. As a class project, too, it enabled the students to both collaborate and work individually. At semester’s end, the students presented their work to the Valentine and GRTC. Today when I ride the Pulse, I find myself engaged historically with my whereabouts, and now other riders can, too.”

As part of their ongoing class project, VCU students also provided technical and content feedback on Explore the Past on the Pulse.

You too can Explore the Past on the Pulse at any of the 14 Pulse Stops across the city by using your phone to scan the QR codes available at each Pulse station or directly through the GRTC website.


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 GRTC Pulse
GRTC Pulse is a modern, high quality, high capacity rapid transit system that serves a 7.6-mile route along Broad Street and Main Street, from Rocketts Landing in the City of Richmond to Willow Lawn in Henrico County. The Pulse earned a Bronze Standard BRT rating by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). GRTC Pulse is jointly sponsored by Bon Secours Richmond Health System and VCU Health System. The Pulse links to many exciting destinations, businesses, services and restaurants.

About VCU and VCU Health
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. 

The Valentine First Freedom Center Hosts 2nd Annual Religious Freedom Day Celebration

January 6, 2020

Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications

The Valentine First Freedom Center Hosts 2nd Annual Religious Freedom Day Celebration

Event will address rising anti-Semitism, importance of interfaith dialogue


RICHMOND — The Valentine First Freedom Center will host the 2nd Annual Religious Freedom Day Celebration on Thursday, January 16 at 9 a.m. to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

Located in Shockoe Slip at the site where the statute was signed in 1786, the Valentine First Freedom Center will welcome museum guests, local religious leaders, members of the public and others for a morning of reflection and conversation about the enduring legacy of religious liberty.

Remarks will be provided by Rabbi Michael Knopf of Richmond’s Temple Beth-El. The event will also use the anniversary to address the recent rise in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism nationally, and how continued interfaith dialogue among Richmond’s faith community can help combat these threats to religious freedom.

“As we witness rising antisemitism, islamophobia and increasing religious hate crimes, it is imperative that we use the 234th anniversary to reassert the profound importance of freedom of conscience,” Valentine Director Bill Martin said. “We hope that the Valentine First Freedom Center can function as a site that not only educates about this foundational freedom, but also serves as a place where meaningful dialogue about this founding value can be realized.”

The morning will also include selected readings from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a musical performance and light refreshments. RSVP HERE.


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.

Winners Announced for Competition to Rethink Monument Avenue

November 20, 2019

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Winners Announced for Competition to Rethink Monument Avenue

The winners of an international design competition to conceptually reimagine Monument Avenue were announced tonight at the Valentine


RICHMOND – This evening, the winners of an international design competition to conceptually reimagine Richmond’s Monument Avenue were announced during a special closing reception at the Valentine.

The competition, overseen by the Storefront for Community Design, mOb Studio and VCUarts, was launched last year and received nearly 70 design proposals from across the globe. The 20 finalists were determined by a panel of jurors and have been on display at the Valentine since February of 2019. This exhibition Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion, sparked intense debate, engagement and conversation across the Richmond community.

The jury acknowledged project strengths in several areas, and through their deliberations, chose to bestow awards in four different design areas. The winners announced tonight include:

Click for larger image

For consideration of scale:

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Memorial
Shane Neufeld and Kevin Kunstadt

Out of more than 2,000 votes cast by visitors to the Valentine’s exhibition, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Memorial was also the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

“We would like to thank the jurors and the Richmond community for holding this challenging and ambitious competition, and engaging artists, architects and designers from around the country,” Shane Neufeld, a member of the design team, said. “Our proposal attempts to redefine how we perceive history through design, and specifically, to do so in counterpoint to the means and methods employed by the existing statues on Monument Avenue. We feel fortunate to be a part of this dialogue and hope that our design provides a strategy – rather than a solution – for a continued discourse and future progress.”

For thoughtful handling of programming:

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The Richmond Engagement Corridor
Pratt Institute Group #2
Courtney Knapp, Claudia Castillo de la Cruz, Maria “Angel” Munoz Martinez, Dhanya Rajagopal, Danielle Monopoli, Jane Kandampulli, Dina Posner, Di Cui, Camille Sasena, Aishwarya Pravin Kulkarn

“Nine women, representing five countries and three master’s programs at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, developed this proposal,” said Dr. Knapp, Pratt Institute Professor whose students developed the Richmond Engagement Corridor design. “The team visited Richmond in October of 2018, and left inspired by the complex, dynamic city they had encountered. This inspiration grounded the ideas in the proposal while also expanding their understanding of anti-racism praxis and reparations.”

For response to difficult and complex context:

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Center For Productive Conversations
Archie Lee Coates IV, Jeff Franklin, Anya Shcherbakova, Phil Gibson, Dillon Kogle

“Ideas are powerful. Positivity (just like negativity) has a way of seeping into the cracks and taking hold. As a studio, we believe in a positive future for Monument Avenue: one with diverse groups of people energetically exploring new ideas in the public and productive setting of a museum,” said Archie Lee Coates IV, a member of the design team. “With the Center for Productive Conversations, we can create new perspectives that are inclusive of everyone, respectfully looking back as we boldly look forward. It will be no small task to realize these ideas, but thankfully the process has already begun with the opportunity to propose them.”

For thoughtful proposals for both temporary and permanent interventions:

Click for larger image

Lori Garrett, Robert Riddle, Neil Walls

“I am grateful to the sponsors of this competition and to the Valentine for this exhibit because it provides a catalyst for conversation that is critical not only for true change in our city, but for communities across the country,” said Lori Garrett, a member of the design team. “I entered because I believe we unequivocally need to provide the monuments with the historical context that enables us to understand how the heritage of some has perpetuated the physical and social bondage of others. Hopefully our design entry not only will contribute to the on-going dialog, but instigate actions that further Richmond’s journey of racial reconciliation.”

These four honorees were selected by a jury panel that included national and local practitioners and educators in the relevant fields of planning, architecture, landscape architecture, curatorship and social justice.

“We’re excited to honor these individuals and groups for their innovative and bold approach to conceptually rethinking the future of Monument Avenue,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “It has been an adventure hosting this exhibition, and I hope that the dialogue created by these proposals has helped Richmonders better understand the role of monuments in our daily lives and how we can move forward as a community.”

“Working together to oversee this competition has really been an eye-opening experience and a truly educational exercise for everyone involved,” said Camden Whitehead, Associate Professor for Interior Design at VCU and Principal, Sadler & Whitehead Architects. “Looking at the winners, all of the proposals and the public response, it’s clear that design has a central role to play in moving forward, and this competition is where that difficult work starts.”

Each winning design will receive a prize of $2,000. Visit monumentavenuegdgd.com for higher-resolution versions of the winning designs.

The winners, along with the 20 finalists and all other submissions, are on display in Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion at the Valentine through December 31, 2019.

November 7, 2019

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

New Exhibition Uses Social Media to Explore the Fight for Women’s Suffrage

#BallotBattle will highlight five Richmonders to tell the complex story of voting rights


Women’s Suffrage Rally at the Virginia State Capitol, 1916. The Valentine Museum Collection, X.49.37.43

RICHMOND —Opening November 21, 2019, #BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage will use modern social media platforms to examine the  suffrage debate and the intersecting issues of race, gender, power and politics as they coalesced in Virginia’s capitol city in the early 1900s.

Examining the positions, opinions and disagreements between five high-profile Richmonders between 1909 and 1920, the exhibit will imagine these tensions playing out as if historical activists had access to present-day social media.

“Representing historical perspectives in a modern format is a creative approach to our mission to engage and represent a diverse cross-section of Richmond history,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “This interpretation is a fresh look at how we reflect on historical debates. It’s relatable, but still inspires a deep look back on social progress, how we used to engage in public debate and how we discuss those same issues today.”

Virginia’s 1902 Constitution had stripped Richmond’s African American men of their voting rights, and the role of women in the home and public society was hotly contested. In the midst of this heated political and social climate, the individuals highlighted in #BallotBattle will represent a variety of positions beyond pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage, providing the visitor with a nuanced take on a vitally important era in Richmond history.

Visitors will also be encouraged to interact with the exhibition itself, using an Instagram wall and engaging with a rotating list of written prompts where they can “like”, “dislike” and comment via sticky-note emojis.

#BallotBattle closes on September 7, 2020.


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 the region through exhibitions, programs, events and more. To learn more, visit thevalentine.org

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!