Valentine Intern Spotlight: Kara Garvey

Our General Collections intern Kara discusses her interest in ethnographic history and the Valentine’s Native American ceramics collection

My name is Kara Garvey and I recently graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies. While at college, I worked in an archaeology lab, studying the Native Americans of the Chesapeake region of Virginia. This experience sparked my interest in ethnographic history and artifacts, especially pottery. This attracted me to the Valentine’s General Collections internship focusing on the museum’s Native American ethnographic ceramics collection.

As part of the project, I am assisting the collections team with cataloging archaeologically-recovered pottery shards in compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA). This piece of legislation requires that all institutions receiving federal funding return culturally significant Native American items (such as funerary or sacred objects) to the affiliate tribe. As part of my internship, I designed and implemented cataloguing procedures for Native American pottery for inclusion in the 2018 NAGPRA summary.

A highlight of my internship was a visit to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VADHR). I was able to use their comparative collection to expand my knowledge of Native American pottery types. The staff at VADHR was generous with their knowledge and experience.

My internship at the Valentine has expanded my knowledge of archaeology and Native American material culture as well as provided me with first-hand experience with the day-to-day management of museum collections. I am pleased to have contributed to the Valentine’s mission of preserving and interpreting Richmond’s history and I cannot imagine a more rewarding way to spend the summer.

Kara Garvey is a General Collections intern at the Valentine in Richmond.

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Leah Epting

Our Archives Intern Leah discusses her appreciation for Richmond’s history and sharing stories that have long gone untold

Leah Epting with William James Hubard’s papers

My name is Leah Epting and I’m a Masters of Information Science candidate at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science. This summer I found my way back to Richmond for a summer internship in the archives of the Valentine.

I lived in the city for eight years and came to love the rich history and powerful stories it had to tell, as well as the beauty, fun and food. Now, in the processing of the Museum’s archival collections, I can help tell Richmond Stories and expand the narrative by being attentive to previously unheard voices. From my recent work on the papers of the artist William James Hubard to those of early 19th century banker and leading citizen John Adams Smith, I’ve been able to appreciate the depth and complexity of the city’s history and the interconnectedness of so many of its early residents. I’ve also been able to put into practice the archival principals that had previously been only academic.

Sketch by William James Hubard in a letter caricaturing Parisians during his 1838 visit there

What has been most satisfying is the chance to shine a light on the stories of so many who weren’t previously considered important by highlighting their roles in the Valentine collection. While cataloging, I’ve been able to highlight the lives of women, enslaved people and the mentally ill. Their experiences were clearly important to the writers of the documents, so they deserve be a part of the historic record. The reality of supporting the museum’s mission and of creating meaningful connections and inclusion through the archives has been a great experience. Learning about all of the ways in which the archives support exhibitions, other collections and offer research opportunities has been a fascinating journey that I hope to continue. I’m deeply grateful for the kind attention of my supervisor and mentor Meg Hughes and to all the other staff from whom I’ve learned so much.

Leah is an intern in the Valentine Archives in Richmond.

A View From a High Schooler

High-schooler Phylicia Winston recently shadowed one of our curators as part of Collegiate School’s new Trailblaze Career Mentorship Program. Below are Phylicia’s reflections from her week exploring the museum field.

 

Phylicia with Collegiate School ephemera housed in the Valentine’s archives.

My name is Phylicia Winston. I am currently a rising senior a Collegiate School in Richmond. Recently, I had the opportunity to shadow Mrs. Meg Hughes, Curator of Archives at the Valentine to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes in a museum. I was able to take part in this unique opportunity through a new program at my school called Trailblaze.

Trailblaze gives you the chance to shadow a Collegiate Alumni in a field you would like to pursue or by interest. My time spent at The Valentine is not what I expected it to be. I had a very busy week ahead of me. SI got to take a part in was a behind the scene tour of the museum and the 1812 Wickham House, I sat in on a board meeting, handled ephemera, and worked on past and new exhibits.

One of the highlights of the week was definitely working with an older exhibition focusing on neon signs around Richmond. I think that was one of my favorites because I got to learn what is involved in deconstructing an exhibition. Overall, I loved this experience. I enjoyed getting to be in downtown Richmond and learning about a new field and passion: history. I enjoyed working and getting to know the wonderful and amazing staff at this museum.

I also loved being able to spend time outdoors in the Valentine Garden. I want to thank everyone who made my week amazing and exciting. I want to thank Collegiate for providing me with this opportunity to spend time at such an amazing place. Finally, I want to thank Mrs. Hughes and the Valentine Museum for letting me get hands on experience.

Phylicia Winston recently shadowed Curator of Archives Meg Hughes at the Valentine in Richmond. 

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Sophia McCrimmon

Our PR & Marketing Intern Sophia discusses her love of Richmond history and shares her expectations as a new member of the Valentine team.

My name is Sophia McCrimmon and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Virginia working as a public relations and marketing intern at the Valentine this summer.

I found my way to the Valentine primarily thanks to a love for Richmond’s complex and robust history. As a lifelong Richmonder and history enthusiast, I grew up exploring many of the meaningful spaces in and around this city – from Hollywood Cemetery to Cold Harbor Battlefield. Thinking about the stories hidden amidst familiar streets made me interested in the politics of space and ideologies of memory.

As a history major and historical tour guide at UVa, I’ve had the opportunity to explore these topics inside and outside of the classroom. I have learned that history is human – both profound and profane, painful and personal. I have also learned that history is powerful – it can restore agency and dignity to forgotten stories, change perspectives through uncomfortable conversations and forge empathy across and within communities. That’s why I think history should be a living field, based on discovery and conversation.

When I first visited the Valentine, the museum’s mission struck a chord with me. I felt inspired by the Valentine’s focus on intersectionality and relevance in its exhibitions and I loved the museum’s role as a forum for community education and discussion. I am so excited to help realize that mission through my work in public relations this summer. In this position, I hope to help make our history more accessible by reaching out to new audiences, publicizing provocative exhibitions, and sparking conversations on social media. I’m also eager to explore the museum’s robust archives, investigating compelling new stories that add to the complex history of this city. My enthusiasm for the Valentine’s exciting upcoming exhibitions makes me thrilled to help reach out to the Richmond community and cultivate interest in this unique institution.

Sophia McCrimmon is an intern at the Valentine in Richmond. 

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Sabrina Connor

Our PR & Marketing Intern Sabrina introduces herself and shares her experiences and expectations as one of the newest members of the Valentine team.

My name is Sabrina Connor (not to be confused for Sabrina the Teenage Witch) and I am from the rainbow island of Anguilla in the Caribbean. I am a rising senior at Virginia Union University studying Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. I was recently inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society and I am a member of the university’s Honors Program. Additionally, I serve as the captain of the Lady Panther’s tennis team, the business manager of the Student Government Association and a French and English tutor. A few of my many passions include travelling, exploring different cultures, discovering new music and art and getting lost in captivating books.

My summer goal was to find an internship that not only allowed me to develop and enhance my communication skills, but tied into my interests as well.  Sure enough, I walked into my school’s spring career fair with this goal in mind, and the bright, red Valentine sign immediately caught my attention. After learning about the details of the internship program and the museum’s history and purpose, I quickly applied, and was later accepted for the Kip Kephart Foundation’s Bobby Chandler Internship in the PR and Marketing Department. I was extremely pleased about this opportunity because I knew working at the Valentine would provide the perfect space to get hands on experience in my area of study and educate me about the history and charm of Richmond, my new home.

I am now in the second week of my internship and I have done a range of media related tasks such as press releases, photography, social media management and strategic messaging. Throughout the remainder of this internship I will absorb as much as I can so I can apply everything I’ve learned towards my future career goals. I thoroughly enjoy the welcoming, friendly and educational work environment that the Valentine offers and look forward to expanding my knowledge through this summer internship!

Sabrina Connor is an intern at the Valentine in Richmond. 

76 Years of Neighborhood Tours!

The Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs Liz Reilly-Brown discusses the history of the Valentine’s neighborhood tours.

FIC.031797; “Carrington Row Tour”; Oct 28 1967; The Richmond Times-Dispatch

In the fall of 1942, the Valentine and historic preservation champion Mary Wingfield Scott launched a series of walking tours exploring Richmond. The Valentine had recently opened the exhibition Old Richmond Neighborhoods, a project that grew out of Scott’s efforts to document the city’s vulnerable historic neighborhoods and architecture. These early walking tours brought Richmond citizens together to explore their city, visiting areas such as Gamble’s Hill, Church Hill, Oregon Hill, Jackson Ward and Hollywood Cemetery.

Tours were among the methods utilized by Scott to spread the gospel of historic preservation. Scott educated residents about important examples of architecture and historic places in their own backyards, sites she believed were in need of saving from ongoing threats of demolition, disrepair and development.

V.85.37.4033; “Group Tours Restoration Project in Church Hill”; 1972; The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Thus, the Valentine’s tour program was born (though not always offered consistently and stewarded for a time by Historic Richmond Foundation). Today, the museum continues Scott’s work by providing Richmonders with opportunities to explore their city by foot, bus and bike, with the goal of sharing diverse stories of Richmond residents and exploring the ever-changing landscape.

In my personal experience organizing the tour program, some of the most rewarding moments have occurred spontaneously as tour takers share their own stories. On a tour of Battery Park last spring, our group discussed the shifting demographics of the neighborhood in the last seventy years, and two attendees recalled their personal experiences during school desegregation. They soon discovered that they were former elementary school classmates, one white and one black.

2018 will mark 76 years since the first Valentine walking tours, and we have many exciting things in the store for the coming season.  Favorite tours will be back, such as Hollywood Cemetery, our downtown City Center Walks and beloved areas like Church Hill, Jackson Ward and Scotts Addition. New additions to our tour program will take attendees to different parts of the city and provide new perspectives, such as a stroll along the Floodwall exploring the history of Richmond and the James River, a walk through the Broad Street Arts District, a tour and work day at Evergreen Cemetery and an exploration of Carytown’s LGBTQ+ history.

We hope that by continuing to explore our city and unearth the important stories of its residents, we honor the legacy of Mary Wingfield Scott, and the numerous people who have contributed to the diversity, culture and history of Richmond.

On behalf of the Valentine, I invite you to join us for tours, April through December. More info can be found at thevalentine.org/tours.

Liz Reilly-Brown is the Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs at the Valentine

Intern Blog: The Richmond 34

Our PR & Marketing Intern Ta’Kia focuses on the Richmond 34 and the related object in the Valentine collection.

For Black History Month, I wanted to dedicate my second entry on the Valentine blog to the Richmond 34.

During the 1950s and 60s, African-Americans engaged in a battle for social justice, focused on the integration of cities, towns, public spaces and equal rights for all people. This fight took on a variety of forms. Encouraged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., non-violent protests became a significant form of direct action. Attempts to reinforce the status quo through intimidation, physical violence and police arrests resulted in strained race relations during this era throughout Richmond, Virginia and the nation.

There were many non-violent protests that propelled the struggle for civil rights. Rosa Parks’ ractions led to the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and the peaceful March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech sparked a national dialogue about racial injustice.

Inspired by the Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-In, Virginia Union University students conducted their own non-violent protest by staging a variety of actions, including a sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Richmond on February 20, 1960.

Woolworth’s Lunch Counter and Stools, ca. 1950, 501 E. Broad Street, V.94.02.01-.07

On February 22, 58 years ago today, VUU students conducted another sit-in at the Thalhimers department store in the heart of Richmond’s shopping district. 34 were arrested, although their convictions were eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Campaign for Human Dignity in Richmond was created as a direct result of these actions. This led to citizens boycotting many of the city’s segregated shops. The resulting economic loss experienced was detrimental and brought about change as a number of retail establishments desegregated in hopes of winning back their former clientele. In fact, by the summer of 1963, more than 100 of Richmond’s 400 restaurants and cafés had integrated.

Photo with Mr. John Dorman, participant in the Thalhimers protest in 1960.

On June 28, 2016, a marker was unveiled on Broad Street to commemorate the Thalhimers sit-in by the “Richmond 34” as the student participants came to be known.

As a Virginia Union University student myself, I was lucky enough to meet Mr. John Doorman, a participant in the protest in 1960, and briefly speak with him about his experiences. A young teenager at the time, Mr. Doorman picketed outside Thalhimers while the students conducted the sit-in.

Come visit the Valentine and see the Woolworth’s lunch counter and stools, site of the February 20, 1960 sit-in, on display in “This is Richmond, Virginia”, our permanent exhibition!

Ta’Kia is a PR & Marketing Intern at the Valentine

Valentine Intern Spotlight: Ta’Kia Dozier

Our PR & Marketing and Development Intern introduces herself and shares her expectations as the newest member of the Valentine team.

My name is Ta’Kia Dozier, and I am a second semester junior from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and an intern at the Valentine.

I currently attend Virginia Union University where I am pursuing my degree in Business Marketing. I am a Resident Assistant for a Living and Learning Residence Hall, a part of the Honors Program, the president of the Residence Hall Association and a member of the Virginia College of African American Women (VCAAW).

I knew nothing about the Valentine at first. In fact, the only Valentine I ever knew was the crush that I had in fifth grade. Once I did some research and saw the variety of exhibits and its unique history however, I knew right away this was the kind of work I was interested in. The focus of the museum is what really appealed to me; its many exhibition pay tribute to the diverse men and women who have helped to build and shape Richmond, the state of Virginia and the nation.

I was made aware the opportunity for an internship through my schools career center. I applied and was excited to hear back that I had an interview.

As a marketing major, my options for a career are endless. There are so many different opportunities and avenues that I can take with this major, and through this internship I hope to narrow down what it is that I would actually like to do once I graduate. Walking into my first day, I was nervous due to my lack of experience in the marketing field, but confident that I would learn fast and gain knowledge in a field that I am passionate about.  The skills that I have gained in the classroom are the fundamentals that I will need to succeed in any internship and any career I choose. I believe this internship will allow me to hone my creative skills and put my knowledge to the test through a variety of different tasks.

The environment is very positive here, and I am excited to get to know my new co-workers. I am excited to experience the marketing side of a community museum. This is my very first internship, and I plan to work hard, be open-minded, and have a great experience!

Ta’Kia Dozier is an intern at the Valentine in Richmond. 

Religious Freedom’s Possibility

On Religious Freedom Day, William L. Sachs, the Priest Associate at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, reflects on the importance of religious freedom and the integral role of the Valentine First Freedom Center

Interior of the Valentine First Freedom Center, located in historic Shockoe Slip.

Few words have more appeal, and more apparent meaning, than “freedom.” The motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Sic semper tyrannis (Thus always to tyrants) gives an important clue to what freedom represents. Arbitrary, unconstrained power must not restrict anyone. Freedom from undue influence has been a hallmark of American life.

Virginia’s role in the advance of American freedom has been significant, of course. A crucial component, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, passed the General Assembly on January 16, 1786. A shortened version became the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the basis of the Bill Rights, in 1789.

Since the two-hundredth anniversary of the Virginia Statute, the First Freedom Center has sought to educate the public about religious freedom and to honor those who have advanced it globally. Now affiliated with the Valentine, the First Freedom Center maintains an exhibit at the corner of South 14th and East Cary Streets in Richmond.

Why is education about religious freedom necessary? The meaning of freedom seems clear: religious freedom, and the other freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights, is freedom from unwanted influence by any institution. The ideal of freedom from extends to religious groups. The separation of church and state protects religions of all sorts from government interference. As citizens, we are free to pursue any religious affiliation, or none, as we choose.

The Virginia Statute did not reject religion. Nor does the First Amendment mean that religion is excluded from social influence. Jefferson’s draft of the Statute includes reference to God as the “holy author” of human freedom. Jefferson was less concerned with divine than with human intrusion into the right to believe. The subtle message of the Statute concerns not merely freedom from, but freedom for flourishing of faith. Freedom must be active, including religious initiative in society.

The Valentine First Freedom Center Monument, Jay Paul

The Virginia Statute eradicated government restrictions on the practice of religion. Less than fifty years after the Statute’s passage, an astute French observer cited religion’s pivotal role in American life. Alexis de Tocqueville assessed American life in his book, Democracy in America. There Tocqueville cited religion as the basis of American society’s strength.

The meaning of religious freedom is two-fold, Tocqueville concluded. On the one hand, religion encourages morality and order. All religions, regardless of their beliefs, equip people to be good citizens. Faith prompts people to come together in local gatherings. There people deepen in belief and grow in social cooperation. Local faith communities form the basis of democratic life: freedom from restraint must inspire freedom for social good.

The annual observance of the Virginia Statute, January 16, follows observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday, January 15. A minister, King embodied the ideal of religious freedom. Regardless of who we are or what we believe, we can work together for the betterment of all. Freedom’s possibility lies in our hands.

William L. Sachs is the Priest Associate at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond.

Valentine School Programs: Fall round up!

Student Programs and Tours Manager Marisa Day provides an overview of some of the exciting and innovative student programs the Valentine will be offering this fall.

How does the Valentine continue its mission to educate, engage and challenge a diverse audience? Through our robust selection of school programs, of course! This past fall, our Valentine educators and tour guides served nearly 7,000 students in the Richmond metro region through museum programs, outreach visits and walking and bus tours. All of our programs are led by our wonderful educators who use their love of history and interactive components to encourage students and teachers to explore Richmond’s story – past and present.

A few of the programs the Valentine will be offering this school year includes:

Let’s Make History: Inspired by the wallpaper recently installed in the McClurg Bedroom and supported by funding from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, this new program explores the creation of home décor found in the 1812 Wickham House. Students discuss 19th century design and create an actual print with woodblocks based off the wallpaper design in the 1812 Wickham house and made by Jake Urbanski of Studio TwoThree. Students and teachers have enjoyed engaging with the museum in a new way and trying their hand at an artisanal skill. For more information on this program, click here.

Jake Urbanski of Studio TwoThree walking students through the printmaking activity.

History Makers in Richmond: Mapping the Monuments: In this program, first and third graders learn about a number of Richmond history makers (Maggie Walker, Thomas Jefferson, Arthur Ashe and others) who shaped local and national history. This field trip also includes a visit to Edward Valentine’s sculpture studio where educators discuss the process used to create and construct monuments. The program culminates with an opportunity for students to design their own monument.

Students exploring the Edward Valentine sculpture studio.

Our Changing Community: Who doesn’t want to play games in a museum? In this program students tour the 1812 Wickham House, play games and participate in activities to learn about how the lives of children in Richmond has changed over the last two centuries.

Students playing historical games as part of the Our Changing Community program.

Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond School Visits: This fall, with programming created and coordinated by our curator Wanda Hernandez, the Valentine has been offering student visits of Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond, the region’s first bilingual exhibition. Recently, students from JR Tucker’s ELL and Spanish Immersion programs toured Nuestras Historias in Spanish and English and participated in activities that encouraged them to think critically about different moments in U.S. history that involved or impacted people of color, including Mendez v. Westminster and Brown v. Board of Education.

Wanda Hernandez touring a school group through Nuestras Historias: Latinos in Richmond.

Of course these are only a selection of what we are excited to offer the students of the Richmond region. The Valentine Public Programs team is always willing to work with teachers to offer materials and programming that is relevant to the classroom curriculum and important to educating engaged and thoughtful citizens.  If you are interested in learning about ways that you can bring students to the Valentine (or bring our programs to your school) please visit our website, https://thevalentine.org/programs-tours/student/ or contact education@thevalentine.org.

Marisa Day is the Student Programs and Tours Manager at the Valentine