Out of the Rat’s Nest and into the Bedchamber

The Elise H. Wright Curator of the General Collection David Voelkel provides an update on the new wallpaper installation that all began with a chance discovery in a rat’s nest. 

The Valentine has been working tirelessly to reinterpret for a new audience the restored interiors of the 1812 Wickham House to reflect the period before the 1839 death of John Wickham. Recent work has focused on the McClurg bedchamber. Originally the Wickham’s principal guest room, the McClurg Bedchamber became the home of Mrs. Wickham’s widower father Dr. James McClurg from 1816 until his death in July 1823.

This project began with an important discovery during the house restoration: a tiny fragment of wallpaper pulled from a 19th century rat’s nest (watch the Hidden History Segment from WRIC). The New York firm Adelphi Paper Hangings worked from this scrap coupled with another nearly-matching full section of wallpaper from Historic New England’s archives to create our “Wickham Stripe” wallpaper. Located in Sharon Springs, New York, Adelphi Paper Hangings is a small, artisanal manufacturer of historically accurate block printed wallpapers. The “Wickham Stripe” wallpaper was block-printed by Adelphi staff using custom-carved pear wood printing blocks and distemper paint on a special French-made paper which is hand-seamed using rabbit glue.

Wallpaper installation is an artisan craft that requires years of experience to become a master hanger. Adelphi recommended Brian Conn of Oceans Wallcovering LLC for our current project. We could not have been in better hands this past week as the paper literally rolled out and up onto our walls – a first in our restoration of the Wickham House!

In addition to measuring the McClurg Bedchamber to place the order for the correct amount of paper (always factor in an extra 15 -20% for pattern-matching and possible future repairs!), Conn advised the museum to thoroughly prepare the existing plaster walls by filling any holes or cracks, smoothing them down with sandpaper and applying an oil-based primer. Conn installed an acid-free liner paper over the newly painted and sanded walls to ensure the best results for the “Wickham Stripe” wallpaper.

Come see the final results in person during our free Court End Christmas Open House on Sunday, December 10 from noon to 5 p.m.!

David Voelkel is the Elise H. Wright Curator of the General Collection

Santiago’s T-Shirt

Wanda Hernández, Curator of Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond discusses how DACA has impacted one of the individuals featured in the exhibition

Photo: Dan Currier

During the creation of Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, I interviewed over 60 Latinos in the Richmond area. One of the individuals I interviewed was Santiago, who shed light on the complexities of immigration policy and how it impacts his day-to-day life. At the time of the interview, Santiago was completing his last year at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. However, On September 5, 2017, Santiago received life-altering news.

While parents conversed at bus stops, kids loaded school buses and teachers prepared their classrooms, President Trump announced the discontinuation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order issued by President Obama in 2012 to protect undocumented youth from deportation. The optimism that accompanied the new school year evaporated for approximately 800,000 DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.

In order to qualify for DACA, the applicant has to be 30 years old or under, have arrived in the U.S. prior to the age of 16 and lived here for five consecutive years. Additionally, the applicant must be an outstanding citizen, maintain a clean criminal record, be in school or have graduated, or be a military veteran. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants met these rigorous requirements. Until 2012, a Dreamer’s legal status was a well-guarded secret for many Richmonders like Santiago.

In 2002, Santiago and his family immigrated to Richmond when he was 9 years-old. Undeterred by the change in scenery, language and culture, Santiago quickly adapted. He learned English after only about one year in the United States and fell in love with the universal language of numbers, math.

By the time he got to high school in Henrico County in 2008, Santiago was an exceptional student, a leader in various honor societies, a member of the robotics team and captain of the soccer team. However, unlike many teens, Santiago moved around due to immigration raids occurring in the area in the 2000s. He also contemplated whether he could, or even deserved to attend college. Without a nine digit number, Santiago was an undocumented teenager.

Hispanic College Institute t-shirt, ca. 2010, Gift of Santiago, photo: Terry Brown

While he was an active member of his school community, his classmates couldn’t understand the duality he faced every day. Thankfully, in 2010, Santiago encountered a network of immigrants and their allies, who were committed to supporting one another in personal, educational and professional endeavors. Santiago found his support system at the Hispanic College Institute (HCI), a week-long college preparatory conference for students across Virginia. Santiago described that for the first time, he felt a sense of familia, and grew close with others he could relate to. The mentors and friends he met that summer in 2010 gave him hope in a future he had thought would always be out of reach.

In June 2012, when Santiago graduated from high school, he benefited from DACA. While DACA did not allow him to receive federal financial aid, he did obtain a work permit and driver’s license. However, it was the encouragement Santiago received from his HCI familia that ultimately led him to pursue education at a four-year institution. In 2014, Santiago received a full scholarship to attend Virginia Tech, where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Engineering in May 2017.

Santiago’s story is represented in our exhibition Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond through his HCI t-shirt.

There are organizations in Richmond, the Commonwealth and throughout the United States like the Hispanic College Institute that provide support and opportunity to deserving individuals, regardless of legal status. As many in our communities fear for the future and safety of our undocumented neighbors, there are stories like Santiago’s that remind us that the dream is not lost.

 

Wanda Hernández is the curator of Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond and the Latino Programming Coordinator at the Valentine.

No Stranger to Controversy!

A Valentine Intern Explains the Research Process for our new “Controversy/History” series

When I began my internship with the Public Programs department at the Valentine, I was eager to begin the research for a brand new program that was going to take the place of the long-running Community Conversations. The Valentine had just announced “Controversy/History”, a new community engagement series that aims to explore contentious, present-day issues by comparing historic debates with modern data. The first event takes place on November 7 and focuses on voting rights and redistricting. This was my first assignment as an intern, and I was just as nervous as I was excited.

I knew the research I would be conducting for this new series would be feasible thanks to the vast historical resources at the Valentine and the surrounding Richmond area.

Through many hours of research I was able to delve into fascinating stories, dissect them and illustrate the kind of nuanced historical narrative that would help put a contemporary twist on timeless historical topics. This is the goal of the “Controversy/History” series and is central to the mission of the Valentine. Through these conversations, we aim to use history as a bridge to help the Richmond community better understand our uncomfortable past, grapple with our present and create a better future.

X.49.37.43, Women’s Suffrage Rally at Capitol, 1916, The Valentine

During my research, I was focused on being as inclusive as possible when gathering data to ensure a well-rounded portrayal of the various historical narratives. It was particularly important to make sure that I took multiple viewpoints into account and kept an open mind when investigating these topics. It can be easy to label one historical figure a villain and another a hero. I wasn’t interested in something so simple.

So I delved into the readily available resources here at the Valentine, including archival photos, documents and other items in our extensive collection. I was also encouraged to reach out to other historic locations and scholars in the area in order to develop the most expansive, nuanced history of the voting rights debate in Richmond. This allowed me to network and collaborate with various experts and historians, explore the Library of Virginia’s collection and speak with Maymont’s curatorial staff. All of these elements, along with the encouragement of the Valentine, helped me improve my research techniques, discover new resources and become a better public historian.

I’m hopeful that our new “Controversy/History” series will offer insight into the past while also engaging the public with the issues we face today. From voting rights and redistricting on November 7 to monuments, immigration and transportation, the stories we’ll be exploring in the coming months will serve to remind us not only of the progress we have made, but how much work we have yet to do.

Jessica Davis is a Public History graduate student at the University of Richmond. She graduated with her B.A. in History from V.C.U. and has been working as an Educator at the Valentine since 2015. 

 

 

The Valentine Launches New “Controversy/History” Series

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2017

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

The Valentine Launches New “Controversy/History” Series

RICHMOND – The Valentine has launched their new “Controversy/History” series which will explore contentious, present-day issues by comparing historic debates to modern data.

With Controversy/History, the Valentine has re-envisioned their long-running Community Conversation series to continue encouraging sometimes uncomfortable but always relevant discussions that inspire action and promote progress.

“The Valentine is dedicated to providing Richmond residents with a space to have constructive, informed discussions about relevant topics,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “Our new Controversy/History series will use stories from our past and on-the-ground data from our present to examine the issues that mean the most to the people of the Greater Richmond region.”

At each of these events, Martin and radio host Kelli Lemon will provide biographies of individuals with opposing viewpoints from Richmond’s past.  Expert speakers will then present 21st century data that explains how these disagreements have developed and shifted over time.

“It is important to have real, tough, honest conversations about our past so we can move our city forward,” said Kelli Lemon. “I’m excited to be taking part in this platform created by the Valentine to expose all angles of some hard topics and allow us to leave the conversations with takeaways that can be applied to our current situation.”

A moderated, in-depth conversation among attendees will follow.  Finally, the Capital Region Collaborative (CRC) will provide audience members with pertinent regional data and a list of concrete steps they can take to make a difference in their community.

Here is a complete list of dates and topics:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 6-8 p.m.
Social Stability: Voting Rights & Redistricting
Featured Speakers:
Corinna Barrett Lain, S.D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law, University of Richmond
Henry L. Chambers Jr., Austin E. Owen Research Scholar & Professor of Law, University of Richmond

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
Quality Place: Monuments & Tourism

Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
Job Creation: Immigration

Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
Coordination Transportation: The Interstate Highway System

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
History Makers Tie-In

 

The Valentine is excited to be partnering with the Capital Region Collaborative and aligning discussion topics with their regional priorities.

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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 Kelli Lemon
Kelli Lemon is an on air personality for Radio One Richmond’s Kiss FM and iPower and hosts a weekly podcast called “Coffee with Strangers”. Kelli hosts various social events and has assisted in creating unique urban events in Richmond including RVA Pop Up Parties, Hip Hop BINGO, Ready 2 Give Charity Events, Dinner and a DJ, HeART & Soul Brew Fest, Richmond Black Restaurant Week and The Art of Noise. https://www.kellilemon.com

About the Capital Region Collaborative
The Capital Region Collaborative brings together local government, business, and community stakeholders to achieve a shared vision for the Richmond Region. CRC partners recognize that the most pressing challenges extend across jurisdictional boundaries and that a cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional approach is needed to reach the region’s full potential. https://www.capitalregioncollaborative.com/

 

 

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Controversy/History

Our new Controversy/History series will explore contentious, present-day issues by comparing historic debates with modern data. We have re-envisioned our long-running Community Conversations to continue encouraging sometimes uncomfortable but always relevant discussions that inspire action and promote progress.

At each of these events, Director Bill Martin and radio host Kelli Lemon will provide biographies of individuals with opposing viewpoints from Richmond’s past. Expert speakers will then present 21st century data that explains how these disagreements have developed and shifted.

A moderated, in-depth conversation among attendees will follow.

Finally, the Capital Region Collaborative (CRC) will provide audience members with pertinent regional data and a list of concrete steps they can take to make a difference in their community.

Dates and topics:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 6-8 p.m.
Social Stability: Voting Rights & Redistricting
Speakers:
Corinna Barrett Lain, S. D. Roberts & Sandra Moore Professor of Law, University of Richmond
Henry L. Chambers Jr., Austin E. Owen Research Scholar & Professor of Law, University of Richmond

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 6-8 p.m.
Quality Place: Monuments and Tourism

Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
Job Creation: Immigration

Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6-8 p.m
Coordination Transportation: The Interstate Highway System

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 6-8 p.m.
Richmond History Makers Tie-In

The Valentine is excited to partner with the Capital Region Collaborative and aligning discussion topics with their regional priorities.

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Court End Christmas

The 31st Court End Christmas will take place Sunday, December 10, from 12 to 5 p.m. Free admission and shuttle transportation will be provided to the following historic sites:

The Valentine, the Valentine First Freedom Center, The Executive MansionHistoric St. John’s Church, Virginia State Capitol, The John Marshall House, Monumental Church, ACWM – White House of the Confederacy, St. Paul’s Church and more!

This fun community event includes children’s activities, carriage rides, performances, refreshments, gift shops, music and tours. Stay tuned for additional participants and programming!

Sponsored by VCUHealth, Richmond Family Magazine and Richmond Association of Realtors 

Richmond History Makers Undergoes Bold Transformation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2017

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

 

Richmond History Makers Undergoes Bold Transformation

RICHMOND – The Valentine has announced that the Richmond History Makers Program has undergone an innovative reimagining. Launched in 2004, Richmond History Makers reaches out into the community to recognize the often unknown individuals and organizations that have made important and lasting contributions to the Greater Richmond region.

The Valentine’s nominating categories will now be aligned with the Capital Region Collaborative’s (CRC) regional priorities, paving the way for an even stronger program, a more diverse group of nominees and ultimately, a more inclusive and powerful event honoring the unsung heroes of Greater Richmond.

The event, which will integrate the CRC’s Annual Community Update, will take place at Virginia Union University on March 13, 2018. This marks the first time a Richmond History Maker’s celebration has taken place off-site and in the spring.

“Heading into the thirteenth year of the Richmond History Makers program, we knew it was time to make a significant and impactful change,” said The Valentine’s Executive Director Bill Martin. “This partnership with the CRC and our change in venue is all about the Valentine taking the next step, further engaging with the community and sharing some truly amazing Richmond stories.”

As part of the celebration, the Capital Region Collaborative will release their third annual update of key indicators for the Richmond region. The regional indicators project is an effort to measure important economic and social data that enables the community to monitor the region’s progress on regional priorities and goals.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Valentine to celebrate the hard work and achievements across the region,” said the Capital Region Collaborative’s Manager Ashley Hall. “Connecting with History Makers allows us all to see the stories and faces behind the numbers.”

“Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) is proud to be a founding partner of Richmond History Makers and a member of the Capital Region Collaborative,” said LMR President/CEO Myra Goodman Smith. “We are pleased to play a role in informing the community of its progress in regional priorities and recognizing residents and organizations that are creating positive impact in those priority areas.”

Nominations for the 2017-2018 Richmond History Makers Program are being accepted September 1 through October 20. 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 Capital Region Collaborative
The Capital Region Collaborative brings together local government, business, and community stakeholders to achieve a shared vision for the Richmond Region. CRC partners recognize that the most pressing challenges extend across jurisdictional boundaries and that a cross-sector, cross-jurisdictional approach is needed to reach the region’s full potential. https://www.capitalregioncollaborative.com/

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/

First bilingual exhibition of Latino oral history opens in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2017

First bilingual exhibition of Latino oral history opens in Virginia
The Valentine’s Nuestras Historias opens July 27

Federico Xol copyright Steven Casanova 2017

Federico Xol at Jefferson Davis Highway and Chippenham Parkway (Steven Casanova, 2017)

The Valentine’s newest exhibition, Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, is the first bilingual exhibition in Virginia to explore and document Richmond’s diverse Latino heritage. Opening July 27, visitors will encounter the Latino American dream as depicted through firsthand stories, objects and photography.

Wanda Hernández, the museum’s Latino project curator, completed 65 interviews to gather oral histories and family material for the exhibition. Nuestras Historias connects Latino stories of the past with those of today while exploring themes of immigration, identity, language, education and community.

“The exhibition tells vignettes consisting of various personal narratives that make up a greater history,” Hernández said. “Entrepreneurs, business owners and internationally renowned artists shared their stories for this exhibit about how they created opportunities for themselves in Richmond.”

With displays in English and Spanish, the Valentine hopes that visitors recognize the depth to which Latinos are part of the fabric of America’s past, present, and future, she said.

Exhibition highlights include interviews and items from prominent Latinos in Richmond, including Eduardo Dawson and Argentina Ortega, co-owners of La Sabrosita Bakery; Christina Frijuckic of Christy’s Beauty Salon; Tanya González of Sacred Heart Center; Ana Ines King, founder of the Latin Ballet of Virginia; Marlysse Simmons and Rei Alvarez from the salsa band Bio Ritmo; Pastor Carmen and Victor Torres of New Life Outreach International Church and Ministry; Kevin Davis from Ban Caribe; Kevin LaMarr Jones of Claves Unidos; and Secretary Nancy Rodrigues and Deputy Secretary Jaime Areizaga-Soto from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Cabinet.

From 1990 to 2010, the American South had the fastest growing Latino population in the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, Virginia’s population alone grew 92 percent from 2000 to 2010. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, there are now approximately 100,000 Latinos who live in Richmond.

The Valentine collaborated with Richmond Public Libraries, Sacred Heart Center, and University of Richmond for this exhibition.

About the exhibition
TITLE: Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond
DATES: July 27, 2017 – April 15, 2018
WORK: 40 objects and 16 photographs
ADMISSION: $10 adults, $8 seniors (55+), $8 students with ID. Free for military, children under 18, and museum members.
FREE OPENING EVENT: July 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dance performances from Latin Ballet of Virginia and Claves Unidos, live music by Bio Ritmo, salsa lessons from Clara Toro of Salsa4Life, food and family activities are all free and open to the public. Sponsored by CarMax. Free Valentine admission July 29 and July 30.
SPONSORS: The exhibition is sponsored by Altria, Jackson Foundation, VCU Health, Bon Secours, CarMax and Fifth Third Bank.
ADVISORY COUNCIL: Agustín Bravo Acosta; Laura Browder, University of Richmond; Steven Casanova; Vaughn Garland; Tanya González, Sacred Heart Center; Patricia Herrera, University of Richmond; Meg Medina; Patricia Parks, Richmond Public Library; Michel Zajur, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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About the Valentine
The Valentine preserves, conserves and interprets Richmond, Virginia history and diverse community issues by focusing on urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture. It is the only institution in the country committed solely to this mission and it is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It houses a 40,000-piece collection of textiles and costumes, one of the largest Western collections of its kind. The Valentine maintains more than one million photographic images of the city, and 25,000 decorative arts pieces, including portraits, furniture and domestic items. Its research library provides primary source material for national and international scholars. The Valentine-owned 1812 John Wickham House is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

 

Media Contact:
Pryor Green
804.418.2729

 

 

Woman of the Week: Lila Meade Valentine

Women’s equality has been, and continues to be a major issue in today’s world; it is a hot topic of discussion and a relatively predominant subject matter. We all know (and salute) the big names associated with female activism, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Sandra Day O’Connor, Madam C.J. Walker, etc. but what about the women who are not as well known? What about those who worked locally in and around the Richmond area?

Lila Meade Valentine was a native Richmonder who married into the Valentine family when she wed Benjamin Batchelder Valentine in 1886. Although she had no children of her own, she was deeply committed to fighting for the children of Richmond and their right to be educated properly. Unfortunately, during this time Virginia’s education system was prejudiced against the poor, African Americans and females, making it especially difficult for them to receive quality educations. In an attempt to correct these injustices, Lila and several other activists formed the Richmond Education Association (REA), which purpose was to raise money for a new high school, develop programs to train teachers, increase salaries for teachers and in general help children obtain a better education.

On top of education reform, Lila also worked vigorously to restructure healthcare by helping found the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Richmond (IVNA). The IVNA’s primary focus was low-income citizens of the area and ensuring they had access to basic health-care services. She later got involved with the American woman suffrage movement and cofounded the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. Between 1912 and 1913 Lila spoke to more than a hundred government officials and state organizations, eyes set on getting women a voice in politics. The Nineteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, which granted women the right to legally vote thanks to groups like the Equal Suffrage League and women like Lila.

Lila Meade Valentine passed away on July 14, 1921. We continue to recognize her work and the work of women like her.