Undocumented Property

For more than 100 years, the Valentine has collected, preserved and interpreted materials relating to the history of the city of Richmond and the surrounding regions. As part of its commitment to the stewardship of this unique collection, the museum is seeking to recover the histories of currently undocumented objects.

Pursuant to Title § 55.1-2606 Acquiring title to undocumented property of the Code of Virginia, the museum has the ability to acquire legal title to undocumented objects if it can verify through written records that it has held such property for five years or longer, during which period no valid claim to the property has been asserted and no person has contacted the museum regarding the property.

Claims for Property

The Valentine Museum will publish as public notice the intent to acquire title to the property. Interested parties must submit claims by completing the Undocumented Property Claim Form. This can be submitted online using the form below or a hard copy can be downloaded HERE (PDF). Copies are also available at the Museum’s front desk.

Following receipt of a completed Undocumented Property Claim Form, the museum will complete investigation of the claim within 90 days unless it is clear that it is unsupportable or unsubstantiated. It is the responsibility of the museum to balance protection of the legitimate intent of the donor with the valid interest of a claimant; therefore, the museum will consider a claim to be validated if the following forms of evidence are satisfied:

  • Identity of the claimant or relationship to the original claimant can be verified
  • Original museum documentation or a combination of two of the following is provided:
    • Unique identification of the property
    • Correspondence relating to the item
    • Last will and testament detailing transfer of the item to next of kin
    • Oral history

Claims made via telephone are not valid.

The Valentine Museum staff will review the evidence and notify the claimant of its determination via certified mail. If museum staff cannot complete a determination after suitable evidence has been provided and research conducted, final determination will fall to a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees.

If multiple claims to ownership are submitted, the museum will defer a determination until the various claims are resolved by agreement or legal action. If the museum verifies that multiple claimants are joint owners, the museum will ensure that all parties agree to final disposition of the property before taking action.

If the museum is satisfied that a claimant(s) is entitled to take possession of the property, the museum will enter into an agreement regarding disposition. Possession of the property by the claimant(s) must be taken within 6 months of the agreement unless other arrangements are made.

Undocumented Property Claim Form


Please complete all sections of this document and press the submit button below. Supporting documentation can be submitted digitally below or can be submitted in hard copy to: The Valentine, Attn: Registrar, 1015 East Clay Street, Richmond, VA 23219.


If you wish to complete the form in writing, you may download a digital copy (PDF) and print it at home or obtain a printed copy from the Valentine at the address above.