How We Collect & Curate

Growing Our Collection

The Valentine does community-centered collecting that represents the deeply diverse history of the Richmond region. Once accepted, donations become part of our accessioned or non-accessioned collections and may be used in exhibitions, programs and research.

The Valentine cannot accept all objects. Determining factors include the object’s physical condition, the number of similar objects already in the collection, its rarity or uniqueness and the object’s unique history.

Collecting Scope and Criteria

Artifacts are selected for the collection based on the following criteria:

  • The object must relate to the history of the Richmond region, defined as:
    • City of Richmond
    • Charles City County
    • Chesterfield County
    • Goochland County
    • Hanover County
    • Henrico County
    • New Kent County
    • Powhatan County
  • The object must fall within the museum’s mission.
  • The Valentine must have the resources to catalog and provide long-term care for the item.
  • The donation must be an unrestricted gift with transfer of permanent ownership.
  • The acquisition of material must conform to the Valentine’s collections policies and priorities.

Donating an Object

Donations are an essential way that the Valentine grows its collection to document all parts of Richmond’s history. Objects that are offered for donation are first placed with the museum for review. Following acceptance, final ownership transfer paperwork is sent to donors. In order to assist our careful review of materials you wish to donate, please fill our Donate an Object form as completely as possible.

If you are not able to complete this form online, please call the Valentine (804) 649-0711 to speak with a member of our curatorial team.

Please do not send materials or bring materials to the museum unless you have had prior communication with our curatorial staff.

Donate An Object Frequently Asked Questions

Collection Refinement Initiative

Since 2019, the Valentine has been reviewing its collection to identify objects that do not support its mission. Like many collecting institutions, over our history the museum’s collecting practices evolved and our holdings became unfocused. Following a Board and staff collaborative process to redefine our priorities and create a Collection Philosophy, the museum is removing, or deaccessioning, objects that do not relate to the Richmond region, are duplicative, are in poor condition, or have low exhibition, programming or research value.

To learn more about this process, contact Meg Hughes, Deputy Director of Collections, at 804-649-0711 x308 or