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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. Although the home is not available for tours at the current moment, please take a sneak peek inside.

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#BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage

To highlight the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, #BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage uses modern social media platforms to profile five Richmond viewpoints and the racial and generational tensions that each exposed. Between 1909 and 1920, both pro-suffrage and anti-suffrage advocates battled tenaciously, using all the platforms available to persuade both the legislature and the general public. While they could not use Twitter or Facebook, they did rely on newspapers, broadsides, pamphlets, postcards, banners, and personal accessories to proclaim their viewpoints.  Just like our complicated social media battles today, the final political and legal outcome was never a foregone conclusion.

Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic

Despite years of medical and social progress, misconceptions about HIV/AIDS persist today. The disease is viewed by many as a scourge of the past that is now easily treatable and primarily impacting gay white men. However, the numbers reveal a more complicated story—one in which gay African-American men have a 1 in 2 chance of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Richmond’s rate of HIV infection, currently ranked 19th nationally, is exacerbated by high concentrations of poverty, lack of sex education in public schools and the continuing opioid epidemic. Featuring oral histories collected by Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera with accompanying photographic portraits by Michael Simon, Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic offers a nuanced look at the HIV/AIDS crisis through the stories of survivors, caregivers, activists and health care workers on the front lines.

This project is funded in part by Virginia Humanities.

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

 

WellcomeMD logo

RMHF logo

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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!

Creating History
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Creating History: The Valentine Family and the Creation of a Museum

A new interpretation of this popular exhibition, Creating History is now viewable on the second floor of the 1812 Wickham House and features additional objects from the Valentine’s founding collection across five gallery spaces. The exhibition explores the Valentine family’s collecting enterprises, Valentine’s Meat Juice, and ways in which the Museum’s interpretation of Richmond’s history has evolved over the last 120 years.