Our Adult Programs and Tours Manager Explains the #19forthe19th Challenge

Last month, the U.S. National Archives launched a creative, 19 week long Instagram Challenge inviting the public to share stories of amazing women in celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The Valentine eagerly accepted the challenge and our staff is excited to share stories of Richmond women. For those who may not be familiar, an Instagram challenge is a single or series of photo prompts for each day over time. The entire Instagram community is invited to participate using the prompts which are hashtagged and easily followed or searched. If you’re never seen an Instagram challenge, just click here to see how it works.

Institutionally, these challenges are a great way to share content with new audiences. Personally, they are an easy way to explore topics of interest and discover stories from all over the country or world. A simple search on Instagram for #19forthe19th will show posts from the University of Washington Special Collections to the Kansas Historical Society, all highlighting women you may know well and some you may have never heard of before.

Like all museums, the Valentine is only able to display a small portion of its collection at any one time. That’s why social media has become the perfect, virtual space to share these wonderful stories while they remain physically stored away for safekeeping.

Our first entry in the #19thforthe19th Challenge shared the story of Marii Hasegawa. V.88.68.67, [Peace Protester], Richmond Newspapers, Inc., January 16, 1987

From #WomenInSTEM to #DefenderofHumanRights, the #19forthe19th weekly topics provide a great opportunity to dig through the Valentine’s archives and collections to shed light on incredible Richmond women and share their accomplishments with the world (well, the Instagram world at least). The prompts thus far have allowed us to share the stories of peace advocate Marii Kyogoku Hasegawa, the armor-clad Virtus on the Virginia state flag and Eleanor Parker Sheppard, the first woman mayor of Richmond.

But even after you’ve explored the #19forthe19th hashtag, there are many other ways to engage with these important stories. At the Valentine this year, you can experience Leading Women of Richmond, a two part series in our Interactive History Program available upon request. You can also enjoy  Stories of Trailblazing Richmond Women, a special Richmond History tour being offered on October 12 and October 20.

We hope you’ll consider following the #19forth19th challenge and even contributing yourself!

Amanda Vtipilson is the Adult Programs and Tours Manager at the Valentine in Richmond.