Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond Explores Change, Conflict Through Fashion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2020

Contact: Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond Explores Change, Conflict Through Fashion

A new exhibition opening at the Valentine examines an evolving Richmond during the roaring 20s 

Bridesmaid dress worn by Elizabeth Bland Brockenbrough, 1927, V.64.03.01, Gift of Elizabeth B. Brockenbrough

RICHMOND — The Valentine’s newest costume and textiles exhibition, Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond, debuts on July 21, marking the 100th anniversary of a decade of full innovation, social change and conflict. The exhibition will be the first to open at the Valentine since reopening on June 30. 

Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond uses the lens of fashion to address a wide variety of topics, from the explosion of youth culture and teen influence to the dramatic increase of women entering the workforce. At the same time, Richmond in the 1920s represented the height of the Jim Crow era, with new laws and old traditions targeting the city’s Black population.

“This exhibition is perfect for this moment in our community,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Just as in the 1920s, Richmond today is going through a time of dramatic reassessment and renewal, and many of the same issues that made headlines 100 years ago are again part of the conversation.” 

Named for the popular 1929 song of the same name performed by Richmonder Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Ain’t Misbehavin’ explores the social upheaval and cultural innovation of 1920s Richmond, using the Valentine’s impressive costume and textiles collection and its beautiful array of 1920s fashions. 

“I have been struck by the ways that Richmond stories embedded in the Valentine’s collection of 1920s garments echo and anticipate what is happening in the city today,” said Kristen Stewart, the Natalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume and Textiles. “We are thrilled to welcome visitors back to the Valentine with an exhibition that both delights the eye and illuminates a moment in Richmond’s complex history that connects directly with current conversations.”

Ain’t Misbehavin’: 1920s Richmond opens at the Valentine on July 21. To see this and all other exhibitions, reserve your tickets online at thevalentine.org. Admission is free throughout the summer.

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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.

Richmond Cultural Institutions Share Joint Reopening Statement as COVID-19 Restrictions are Lifted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2020

CONTACT:
Eric Steigleder
Communications Director
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

Richmond Cultural Institutions Share Joint Reopening Statement as COVID-19 Restrictions are Lifted

RICHMOND, VA – Richmond area cultural institutions, including museums, attractions, and other sites, have released a joint statement as Virginia continues to lift additional COVID-19 restrictions.

The statement, endorsed by 21 cultural institutions in the area, reflects a set of shared values and provides staff, volunteers, and members of the public with a unified response during this challenging moment. Included is a list of shared protocols and safety measures to give visitors a clearer idea of what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

The joint statement reads:

“As our Commonwealth enters into Phase 2 and our city prepares to, we want to assure all attendees that we are committed to providing everyone with safe, secure, and supportive access to our facilities. In the midst of a pandemic and a region-wide reassessment of our fraught racial history, we believe our cultural resources play an important role during these uncertain times. While we anticipate most sites will open in some capacity by early July, we will continue to use these shared principles and the facts on the ground to ensure the best experience for our visitors.”

Signed,

Agecroft Hall and Gardens
The American Civil War Museum
The Black History Museum And Cultural Center of Virginia
The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design
The Children’s Museum of Richmond
Henricus Historical Park
The Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
John Marshall House
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
The Library of Virginia
Maymont
The Poe Museum
Preservation Virginia
St. John’s Church Foundation
The Science Museum of Virginia
The Valentine
The Valentine First Freedom Center
The Virginia Holocaust Museum
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The Virginia Museum of History and Culture
The Wilton House Museum

VISITORS & STAFF

  • Facemasks will be required of visitors, staff, and volunteers (as required by Executive Order), with exceptions for young children

  • Capacity will be reduced to provide guests space to socially distance. In some cases, pre-registration/timed tickets may be required

  • Contactless payment and use of credit/debit card for purchases will be strongly encouraged

  • Social distancing will be required, and may be encouraged with barriers, designated walk routes, and additional signage

  • Hand sanitizer and similar options will be available across institutions


PROGRAMS/EXPERIENCES

  • Programming will be temporarily suspended to reduce contact within large groups

  • Alterations or adaptations to hands-on exhibits and experiences will be made to reduce interactions with high-touch surfaces

CLEANING PROTOCOLS

  • Cleaning protocols will be expanded, especially in restrooms and high-touch areas\

  • Each site will clearly post their institution-specific guidelines and protocols on their websites, on social media, and onsite

    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

Richmond’s Women Mayors

With the current widespread Coronavirus upheaval, editorials have begun to note the efficient government responses and low casualty rates in countries run by women. Is it cause or coincidence? What would our local, national and global realities look like right now if women ran things? What would Richmond be like under a woman with executive power? As usual, history is a useful place to turn to explore these questions.

Virginia has never elected a woman governor or sent a woman to the Senate. The city of Richmond, however, has had two women mayors.

Delegate Eleanor P. Sheppard (1968-1977) working at desk on her last day in the Virginia House of Delegates in the Virginia State Capitol, March 5, 1977, V.85.37.2417, Richmond Times-Dispatch Collection, The Valentine

The first, Eleanor Parker Sheppard, held the office from 1962 to 1964. As the first woman on city council as well—elected in 1954—she transitioned into the mayoral role with confidence. As the city dealt with desegregation, Sheppard pursued a bold, progressive agenda of public works. She sought to expand healthcare and children’s services while also helping to bulldoze the way for I-95. But public works do not always work for everyone. An advocate of “urban renewal,” Sheppard supported the demolition of the Fulton neighborhood, which permanently displaced many Black Richmonders. Sheppard was popular and not long after her term as mayor expired, she moved on to a decade-long career in the House of Delegates.

Richmond Mayor Geline B. Williams with recent Haverford College graduate Kyle Danish, August 5, 1988, Lindy Keast Rodman, V.91.04.894, Richmond Times-Dispatch Collection, The Valentine

Richmond’s second woman mayor served from 1988 to 1990. Geline B. Williams also took office during heightened racial tensions. But her priorities and approach proved to be very different from Sheppard’s. A conservative, Williams had represented the overwhelmingly white First District as a City Council member. Many believed that the recent annexation of Chesterfield (in Williams’ district) was a bald attempt to drown out the voting power of Richmond’s Black residents. Tensions increased when Williams became the first white mayor since 1977. Critics and Black council members argued that political power in a predominantly black city had been handed back to white suburbanites. City Council meetings turned ugly. Amidst all the controversy, Williams served quietly. Her mere victory turned out to be her most controversial action. Critics accused her of being an invisible mayor, while her supporters called her gentle. Her political goals tended toward traffic safety, leaf collection, lowering taxes and maintaining a tight budget. She retired from political life shortly after her term was up.

The political legacies of these two women, as complicated as they are, actually do very little to reveal what executive power wielded by a woman looks like in Richmond. That’s because both Sheppard and Williams served as mayor at a time—between 1948 and 2004—when Richmond adopted a Council-Manager government.  In that system, City Council and their appointed City Manager held executive authority and Council also appointed the mayor. That meant that the position of mayor was largely ceremonial. In fact, both women arguably held more power as council members.

It seems that for a variety of reasons, history has not given us the inspiring lesson we had hoped for. But here at the Valentine, we believe it is our role to use the past to inform the present and shape the future. And this fuller, more nuanced history of women serving as Richmond’s Mayor can perhaps help to inform and enliven the next generation of leaders across the city.

The Covenanters

In the midst of the pandemic in the absence of school, Richmond parents are struggling to both educate and entertain their children. While this problem may feel new, at one point in Richmond’s history, a vast, structureless day was common.

The first free public school opened here in 1870. But attendance was far from mandatory. And for many children who worked in factories to help support their families, cost was far from the main obstacle to education. Until the early 20th century, many Richmond children lucky enough to escape factory work spent much of their days outside and on their own. This was especially true of boys, who enjoyed more freedom than girls. With little oversight, it was not uncommon for many of these children to trespass, steal, throw rocks and terrorize animals.

Roving boys even formed gangs that warred with each other. In response, a local woman named Katherine Hawes founded a group in 1896 to harness all of this energy for the common good. After meeting with the founder of the Boy Scouts in England, she decided to bring the principles of that organization to America. The Covenanters Movement, as it came to be called, was the first of its kind in this country. Hawes organized the group through the Second Presbyterian Church here in Richmond.

Covenanter parading during J.E.B. Stuart monument unveiling, May 30, 1907, Bolling, Storrs, Grant Photograph Collection. PHC0005/V.82.32.03. The Valentine

Semi-military, semi-artistic, semi-community service oriented, the Covenanters drilled, marched and went camping. They learned wood-carving, leatherwork and took music lessons. With an orchestra and a fife and drum corps, they gave concerts and marched in parades. They also engaged in community service projects, like distributing holiday baskets to the poor. Their headquarters, at 6th and Main Streets, featured a library and bowling alley.

Undeniably successful and popular, the Covenanters movement spread far beyond Richmond. The Second Presbyterian Church established 119 companies as far south as Brazil. However, the group was obviously limited to cities and towns with a Second Presbyterian Church. So when the Boy Scouts came to America in 1916, the Covenanters were quickly overshadowed and outnumbered.

Moral Quarantine

The act of quarantine has, of course, been used throughout Richmond’s history to stop the spread of viral contagion.  But the quarantine concept has also been used here to halt what many believed to be moral contagion as well.

In the early 19th century, Magdalen Societies began to appear in cities all over America, the first being founded in Philadelphia in 1800.  These charities sought out “fallen women,” like sex workers, to rehabilitate into moral rectitude. Magdalen members believed that once these women were quarantined from the people and associations of their sinful lives, they could be reformed. This moral quarantine came in the form of housing, meals and a strict schedule, which often included prayer and training in handicrafts. In 1874, the Magdalen Association of Richmond opened such a home on Spring Street, in Oregon Hill, in the 1819 Parsons House. Their stated mission was to provide “shelter and reformation for fallen women.” Within ten years, the mission of the home had narrowed somewhat, as a refuge for unwed mothers.

Spring Street Home, Early 20th century, V.46.38.269, The Valentine

By 1881, the Spring Street Home took in around twenty women per year, seeing them through their pregnancies, childbirth and adjustment to motherhood. At a time when the stigma of single motherhood was so great that a family’s social standing could be ruined by a pregnancy, maternity homes put a curious twist in the concept of the moral quarantine. Many argue that the main goal of maternity homes in general was to hide the women from “good society”, rather than to save them from the bad. Either way, the Spring Street Home sat on extensive grounds in Oregon Hill, and even had a view of the river.

In 1932, it moved to a 100-acre parcel in the West End and was renamed Brookfield. The new facility had dorm rooms, living rooms, a recreation room, nurseries, delivery rooms, a chapel and a library. The entrance to Brookfield bore a stone carved motto: They Shall Obtain Mercy. Fees were charged to those who could pay. By this time, the home served mostly teenagers and was the oldest of its kind south of Baltimore. In 1968, the home moved again, to a smaller facility on the north side. Five years later, they integrated to serve African Americans. But societal changes, including birth control innovations, legal access to abortion and changing social attitudes about single motherhood made Brookfield increasingly irrelevant. In 2011, it closed for good.  The west end location was demolished in 1968 for development, but the original 1819 building in Oregon Hill still stands.

Mint Juleps & John Dabney

Now that Virginians can order cocktails for take out and delivery, consider supporting your favorite bartender by ordering our most historic cocktail: the mint julep. Through tense times, mint juleps have broken seemingly impossible barriers and won over Richmond’s fiercest critics.

When Charles Dickens came to visit in 1842, his published impressions scandalized Richmonders. He criticized the squalid conditions in the factories and streets, the immorality of slavery and the willful blindness of the wealthy to the misery all around them. He did, however, praise our mint juleps. Beloved by visitors and citizens, the mint julep represented the genteel southern class in the light they wished to be seen. Even a staunch abolitionist like Dickens could not deny its charm. And our most famous mint julep, made by a local bartender named John Dabney, touched the lips of visiting politicians and royalty during this city’s darkest era. In fact, his recipe became a tool of Richmond diplomacy.

John Dabney, Late-19th century, V.99.61.07, Gift of Mrs. Lillian Dabney

John Dabney was born into enslavement in Hanover County around 1824. Owned by Cora Williamson DeJarnette, Dabney was rented out to a relative named William Williamson, who owned a restaurant in Richmond.  Williamson arranged for Dabney to be trained by chefs. He soon became well-known locally for his terrapin stew and his canvasback duck, but what really impressed people were his mint juleps.  As an enslaved bartender, Dabney was allowed to keep a portion of his earnings. With those earnings and fueled by his rising fame, he bought his wife’s freedom in the late 1850s. Still enslaved himself, he kept bar at a number of fashionable restaurants during the Civil War. He had been saving to purchase his own freedom when the war ended.

As a free man, he continued to keep bar around the city. By 1868, he’d saved enough to purchase his freedom from Williamson—which he did, even though he was already free. After 41 years of bondage, Dabney found himself in a position very few freedmen did: he was so beloved by the powerful class that any Richmond bank would loan him money. With his culinary skills and sterling reputation, he opened his own successful restaurant here in the early 1870s.  His son later wrote that his father’s “reputation and business standing rendered him almost immune to segregation, ostracism or racial prejudice.”

Another Kind of Microscopic Menace

Viruses aren’t the only microscopic menaces that have shaped Richmond history.

Few people know that this city lies atop one of the most diverse diatom deposits in the world.  Diatoms are single-cellular aquatic plants that have been fossilized—quite beautifully—within their silica walls.  The diatoms pictured are leftover from the era 5 million years ago, when Richmond lay under a shallow sea.

Our diatom deposits first gained attention through the efforts of the Richmond Microscopical Society, founded in 1880 by local microscope hobbyists. They had been aware of diatoms in the soil here, although it was not until the C&O Railroad attempted to dig a tunnel downtown in the 1890s that the sheer diversity of Richmond’s diatoms became clear.

Slide of diatoms taken by Thomas Christian, 1885, X.61.35.10, The Valentine 

Thomas Christian, one of the founding members of the society, lived near the project dig beneath 8th Street. He and his daughter would venture into the construction zone every evening to take samples of the day’s excavated earth.  He spent much of his time arranging different species of diatoms into beautiful and elaborate slides, such as the one pictured above.

Soon, his findings attracted the attention of the Smithsonian and the world.  The futile digging of the 8th Street tunnel soon became a national joke, as the slippery earth repeatedly caved in. Diatomaceous earth—earth rich in diatoms—is very unstable. Eventually, the railroad had to abandon the project, though the lessons of Richmond’s diatom-rich soil were quickly forgotten, with tragic results. When C&O attempted to repair the Church Hill Tunnel in 1925, the famous cave-in that entombed a work engine and at least three workers was due to the diatom-rich clay.

 

Hygiene and Richmond’s Public Baths

Historically speaking, good hygiene is a relatively new concept for Richmonders.

At a time when washing our hands is our best bet at defeating a pandemic, let’s remember that for most of this city’s history, for many of its citizens, such a simple act was not easy. Until 1950, a large number of homes in the Richmond area did not have the luxury of indoor plumbing.  Of course, lack of access to clean water for both drinking and washing has been the source of many outbreaks here: from cholera to polio.

Branch Public Baths exterior, 709 W. Main Street, Early-20th century Cook Collection, The Valentine

But in 1909, a local banker and philanthropist named John P. Branch drastically improved public health when he opened the city’s first public bath. He built the facility, then deeded it to the city, with the stipulation that the city reserve $3,000 a year to operate it.  The city knew a good deal when it saw one and accepted. A brick building that still stands at 1801 East Broad Street, Branch Public Bath #1 used coal-fired boilers to provide hot water for showers and tubs on the second floor.

These grew so popular that, four years later, Branch built the more beautiful Branch Bath #2 at 709 West Main Street.  At each, any white Richmonder (like so many other amenities in the city, the public baths were segregated) could pay 10 cents to receive a bar of soap and a sterilized towel.

Branch Public Baths interior, 709 W. Main Street, Early-20th century Cook Collection, The Valentine

Admission for children was 3 cents. Men were allowed 20 minutes in the showers, women 30 minutes, though these rules were obviously, largely unenforceable. At the peak of their popularity in the 1920s, public baths served over 80,000 Richmonders a year.  Winter was the most popular bath season.  During the spring and summer months, many still preferred to bathe in creeks and lakes.

The Branch baths remained in operation until 1950, when patronage plummeted following the rise of indoor plumbing.

As public health officials continue to remind us to wash our hands, this history is a fascinating exploration of how basic hygiene was once a thriving business in Richmond.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2020

Contact:
Eric Steigleder
Director of Communications
esteigleder@thevalentine.org

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.

Maymont
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.