The Costume and Textiles Collection at the Valentine comprises dress, accessory, and textile objects made, sold, worn or used in Richmond from the late 18th century to the present day. A unique material cultural record of the region, this collection enjoys a national reputation among fashion and textile scholars.
Select objects from this collection are on public view in the museum’s permanent core exhibition and in an annual special exhibition in the Nathalie L. Klaus and Reynolds Family Galleries. Research appointments are available for visitors interested in studying specific costume and textile objects not on view in the galleries.
The Costume Collection contains clothing and accessories made and worn by members of Richmond’s diverse community for private and public occasions from the 18th century to the present day.
Notable items from the Costume Collection include:
- Clothing worn to important events in Richmond from the 18th century to the present day.
- Military and service uniforms worn by Richmonders during the Civil War, World Wars I and II and the Gulf War.
- Inaugural garments worn by Virginia’s governors and their families.
- Garments and accessories relating to Richmond artists, performers and performance events.
- Dress and accessories designed, made and sold by Richmond-based companies and designers from the 19th century to the present day.
The Textiles Collection includes important groups of quilts, coverlets and embroidered samplers, as well as a wide range of flat textiles and fiber arts made, sold or used in Richmond from the 18th century through the present day.
Notable items from the Textile Collection include:
- Home furnishing textiles made or used in Richmond homes including coverlets, quilts, samplers and draperies.
- Samplers made by Richmond natives including one commemorating the Richmond theatre fire of 1811 and another noting the 1824-25 visit to Richmond by the Marquis de Lafayette.
- Hand-painted flags carried by Virginia regiments during and after the Civil War.
- Contemporary fiber art made by Richmond-based artists.