Classical Allure: Richmond Style

For the inaugural exhibition in the new Nathalie L. Klaus and Reynolds Family Galleries, the Valentine introduces classically inspired treasures from its remarkable collection of costume and textiles. The exhibition explores themes personified by Libertas, Ceres, Virtus, and Aeternitas, the four Roman goddesses that adorn the Virginia state seal, in an examination of the classical forms that endure in Richmond fashion.


Beard Wars

On view during the final year of the American Civil War’s sesquicentennial commemoration, Beard Wars features local photographer Terry Brown’s portraits of members of the RVA Beard League, inspired by images of Civil War generals in the Valentine’s collection.


A collaborative exhibition involving a variety of local cultural and educational institutions brings to light the history and current challenges facing Church Hill from the perspective of its residents.

This exhibition is currently available through The Fight for Knowledge.


A History of Richmond in 50 Objects

“A History of Richmond in 50 Objects” explores the history of Richmond, Virginia, through a selection of objects from the Valentine collection.  Paying homage to “A History of the World in 100 Objects,” the ground-breaking partnership of the British Museum and BBC Radio 4 in 2010 that focused on world history, this exhibition continues the dialogue in a way that is uniquely Richmond. From an 1819 imprint of John Smith’s 1624 Map of Virginia to the rainbow flag that flew at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in 2011, “RVA 50” examines how objects contain layers of meaning that are both personal and public.

  1. John Smith Map of Virginia
  2. William Byrd Lottery Ticket
  3. Low Boy Dressing Table
  4. Patrick Henry’s Storebook
  5. James Armistead Lafayette Portrait
  6. Dr. John Peter LeMayeur Suit
  7. General George Washington Portrait
  8. View of Richmond Painting
  9. Thomas Jefferson Statue
  10. Gabriel Prosser Scratchboard
  11. Richmond Virginia Print
  12. Thomas Callendine Boushall Portrait
  13. Mrs. Joseph Marx Portrait
  14. Richmond Theatre Fire Sampler
  15. John Wickham Portrait
  16. Tall-Case Clock
  17. The Noble James Photograph
  18. Richmond City Hall Diorama
  19. Tredegar Iron Works Bench
  20. Charles Dickens Travel Map
  21. Medical College of Virginia Commemorative Plate
  22. City of Richmond Ordinances Book
  23. Martha Crane Heath & Jennie Wilson Heath Portrait
  24. Aunt Betsy Portrait
  25. Flogger
  26. Confederate Sword
  27. Abraham Lincoln Bust
  28. Mourning Gown
  29. Richmond Calamity Print
  30. Old City Hall Stereograph
  31. Old Chief Smokum Statue
  32. Readjusters Broadside
  33. Maggie Walker Historic Site Fan
  34. Loetz Vase
  35. Lila Meade Valentine Suffrage Bandolier
  36. John Murchie Portrait
  37. Victor-Victrola
  38. Cabinet Radio
  39. Martha Denham Portrait
  40. Shirley Temple Doll
  41. Philco Television
  42. Welcome to Richmond Poster
  43. Richmond Tourism Film
  44. Eleanor Parker Sheppard Portrait
  45. Betty Bunnell Bauder Pantsuit
  46. Ella Gordon Valentine Miniatures Cabinet
  47. L. Douglas Wilder Inaugural Suit
  48. La Siesta Sign
  49. Qi Pao Gown
  50. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Pride Flag
  51. Ukrop’s Supermarket Valued Customer Card

Framing Richmond: Recent Photography Acquisitions

For over 160 years, Richmonders have expressed themselves, documented the city and commemorated special occasions through the medium of photography. From the most formal studio portrait to a candid snapshot, photographs capture details about who we are and what we think about our city. The Valentine preserves more than one million images. The collection spans the history of photographic technology from daguerreotypes to digital. “Framing Richmond: Recent Photography Acquisitions” showcases some of the images collected by the museum during the past five years.

Discovering Collections, Making Connections

This exhibit highlights the extensive and diverse collection of books, costumes, documents, drawings, furniture, glass, household items, paintings, photographs and textiles that are being preserved and used at the Valentine.  Displays of interesting museum collections and individual pieces give the visitor a unique glimpse of our collective past. Current rotations are:

School Days

These artifacts explore the experiences of public and private school students in Richmond. Objects date from the 1880s to the 1960s and chronicle how students, teams, schools, and student activities have continued to change.

Let’s Party!

Who doesn’t love to dress up for a party? Let’s Party! features garments worn by Richmonders to various social events. Exhibit highlights include a dress made entirely of paper donned in 2010 for the reopening of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; an evening gown worn to a ball in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to Virginia in 1824; and a tuxedo jacket made from fabric printed with Richmond Times-Dispatch articles.

Holt Tobacco Collection

This rotation features an assortment of items from the Holt Tobacco Collection, including tobacco tins, advertisements, tools, books and cigarette cards. It was collected by Bernard Stuart “Skip” Holt (1932-2011) and donated to the Museum recently by his wife Carol A. Holt.

Virginia First Ladies Portraits

First Lady Maureen McDonnell unveiled portraits of all ten living Virginia First Ladies in October 2011. Of the ten, four remain on view in the Executive Mansion, four are currently on view at the Valentine, and the remaining two can be viewed at the Library of Virginia. They are displayed in honor of the contributions each of these women has made to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The First Ladies have consistently supported their husbands, have taken on special initiatives and projects, volunteered countless hours, served as hostess to Virginia’s honored guests, and maintained the Executive Mansion as an historic but active home. Mrs. McDonnell’s support of the portrait project is her way of honoring each of these women’s contributions. The life portraits were painted by five Virginia female artists and were funded by Altria and Dominion, and through the support of Minds Wide Open, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Portraits included:

Susan Allen, by Nancy Mauck
Katherine Godwin, by Loryn Brazier
Maureen McDonnell, by Loryn Brazier
Lynda Robb, by Julia Williams
Jeannie Baliles, by Nahid Neff
Virginia “Jinks” Holton, by Christy Talbott
Lisa Collis, by Nancy Mauck
Edwina “Eddy” Dalton, by Julia Williams
Roxane Gilmore, by Nahid Neff
Anne Holton, by Christy Talbott

New Acquisition Highlights

Collecting lies at the heart of the Valentine’s activities, advancing its mission to inform and delight our audiences, and to study and care for artifacts documenting the region’s past and present. New acquisitions span the centuries and Richmond’s many communities, building on existing strengths while also launching the museum into new areas.

In the Rotunda Gallery, we are highlighting acquisitions recently added to our fine art and decorative art collections.

Featured Objects Include:
Compote, circa 1875
Wedgwood, Etruria, England
Gift of Sara Belle November, 2013

Mary Love Scott, 1809
Cephas Thompson (1775-1856)
Oil on canvas, original frame
Museum Purchase, 2013

Storage Jar, circa 1860
Keesee & Parr, Richmond, Virginia
Salt-glazed stoneware
Museum Purchase funded by Keith Kissee, 2013

The Panel (SECAC Meeting), 1971
Theresa Pollak (1899-2002)
Ink on paper
Gift of Dominion Resources Services, Inc., 2013

Cream Jug and Sugar Bowl, 1820s
William Mitchell, Richmond, Virginia
Coin silver
Gift of Margaret and David McClung of Salem, Virginia.

Settlement to Streetcar Suburbs: Richmond and Its People

This exhibit surveys three centuries of Richmond’s history, from the time of its settlers to its emergence as a commercial and capital city. Biographies of prominent figures from Powhatan to Maggie Walker enhance this overview of the city’s economic, political and social history.


Wickham House 200: Inspiring New Art Two Centuries Later

The Wickham House is a spectacular example of 19th century neoclassic architecture and displays some of the country’s finest examples of interior decorative painting. Today, the house and its contents continues to foster artistic creation. Students from the nationally recognized Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts have created site-specific works of art inspired and informed by its architecture and history. This innovative project allows the visitor to investigate new interpretive approaches for historic houses. The exhibit explores contemporary responses to the House in a variety of media and disciplines. Look for these original masterpieces in the front hall, the parlor, the drawing room, upstairs and in the basement. We hope that these works of art inspire you.