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Breathing Places: Parks & Recreation in Richmond

In 1851, Richmond’s Committee on Public Squares acknowledged the region’s rapid residential and commercial growth and recommended “securing breathing places in the midst of the city or convenient to it.” Over the last 170 years, the city and surrounding counties have secured land, engineered, and maintained “breathing places” for some of the region’s residents while limiting and denying access to others.  Breathing Places: Parks & Recreation in Richmond explores the design, use and change of Richmond’s carefully crafted parks, recreation areas and natural spaces and their effect on the region’s residents today.

Breathing Places will also include a slideshow of rotating images featuring community-submitted photos. Richmonders (both individuals and organizations) can submit images of themselves, their families or their friends enjoying greenspaces across the region HERE.

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The Wickham House

A dialogue-based guided tour of the Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark built in 1812, 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 us to tell the complicated story of the Wickham family, the home’s enslaved occupants, sharing spaces, the realities of urban slavery and more. Starting April 6, 2021, visitors can enjoy a self-guided visit to the first floor of the historic Wickham House as part of general admission. You can experience a 360 virtual tour of the house here.

 

 

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This Is Richmond, Virginia

What defines a city? Physical boundaries? People? Economy? Government? Shared beliefs? Richmond is defined by all of these concepts. No one aspect is greater than the other. Together, they create this unique place we call Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is also defined by artifacts, which convey meaning and tell stories. They are collected as silent witnesses of the past and present. The objects in this exhibition have passed through many hands to create personal stories. Collectively, these artifacts help to tell the community’s larger history.

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The Valentine First Freedom Center and Monument

The Valentine First Freedom Center is located on the same corner where Virginia’s General Assembly met in secret during the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1777. Enacted in 1786, this revolutionary document paved the way for the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and continues to impact how Virginians and the nation view the free exercise of religion.

Free to visit, the First Freedom Center celebrates this important history by exploring the past, present and future of religious freedom in America. Physically connected to the Marriott Residence Inn, guests and visitors can also experience the First Freedom Monument, which includes a 27-foot spire, a limestone wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute and a 34-foot banner featuring a seminal Jefferson quote.

You can watch an introductory video about the First Freedom Center below:

You can also watch a video of the 2019 Religious Freedom Day Celebration at the First Freedom Center below:

The Valentine First Freedom Center is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

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Signs of the Times

The Valentine is known for its antique, vintage and contemporary collections. Our neon signs from Richmond businesses illustrate commercial growth and advertising trends. Mounted outdoors overlooking the Gray Family Terrace. We encourage you to come by after dusk to see them lit up!