“In Gear: Richmond Cycles” Exhibition to Open at the Valentine

RICHMOND, Va. – There’s no question Richmond is a cyclists’ town. This exhibition is a uniquely-Valentine take on the history of cycling in Richmond from the 19th century to the present day. The exhibition opens on Aug. 27 in time for the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in mid-September.  The exhibition runs through Jan. 3, 2016. There will be special extended hours nightly until 8 p.m during the cycling events from Sept. 19-26 at the Valentine.

“The Richmond community has been cycling in the streets, the parks, and along the sidewalks in front of their homes since the 1800s,” says curator David Voelkel.

In this exhibition, the Valentine’s rich collection of period photographs and advertising art have been digitized and turned into a media piece that showcases several centuries of cycling history. In Gear: Richmond Cycles  presents historical objects and special loan pieces representing bicycling and cyclists from the 1800s to the present day.  A late 19th century high wheel cycle, sometimes called a “penny farthing” bike – a reference to the large front wheel and the small back wheel resembling British coinage of the era will be on display.

To connect Richmond’s cycling past with its future, the exhibition features contemporary Richmonders, from many diverse neighborhoods. Richmonders agreed to share their cycling stories in a special media wall projection created by Dana Ollestad, who is an award-winning multi-media artist and curator currently based in Richmond.

With regards to women’s freedom during the 1890s, a woman’s active wear outfit suitable for cycling will also be on display. This cycling outfit illustrates the new freedom that bikes offered Richmond women in personal mobility as well as less-restrictive clothing in the age of the corset and long skirts.

The Science Museum of Virginia is currently featuring the exhibition Bikes: Science on Two Wheels which was curated by the Carnegie Science Center. This traveling exhibition is presented locally by Captech and Virginia 529. Also in collaboration with the Science Museum of Virginia, Pedal Power will be on display in the Valentine’s In Gear: Richmond Cycles. Pedal Power allows visitors to generate electricity while they pedal a bicycle. This electricity can then be used to power a series of everyday devices. Each museums’ current members will be granted admission to both exhibitions – In Gear: Richmond Cycles at the Valentine and Bikes: Science on Two Wheels at the Science Museum of Virginia – during the month of September.

“The fact that Richmond was chosen to be the host city for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships this September is a great honor as well as the perfect opportunity for the Valentine to actively collect and to work with local collectors and cycling enthusiasts to present a selected history of cycling to our guests and ourselves,” says curator David Voelkel.

The Valentine is open to the public on Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Sunday. 12-5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors and groups. Valentine members, military and children under the age of 18 are free.

About the Valentine

The Valentine preserves, conserves and interprets Richmond, Virginia history and diverse community issues by focusing on urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture. It is the only institution in the country committed solely to this mission and it is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It houses a 40,000-piece collection of textiles and costumes, one of the largest Western collections of its kind. The Valentine maintains more than one million photographic images of the city, and 25,000 decorative arts pieces, including portraits, furniture and domestic items. Its research library provides primary source material for national and international scholars. The Valentine-owned 1812 John Wickham House is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.