Explore the Valentine’s collection through object research. Our staff will work with you to uncover the history of your house, to find a photograph to illustrate a book or research paper, to discover objects produced by local businesses, or to see examples of fashions made, sold or worn in Richmond.

Much of our collection is currently inaccessible due to construction on our campus. Please contact our research staff  for more information about what portions of the collection are currently accessible.

Submit a Research Question

Submit a Research Question for collection/research inquiries and rights and reproductions requests. Inquiries are generally answered in two business days. If you do not receive a response after this time, please check your “spam” folder.

Explore the Valentine’s online collection database. Our digitized collection is actively growing! Please check back regularly to see new additions.

Reading Room Hours & Fees

Beginning March 19, 2024, we are reopening onsite research services following a major building renovation.

The E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. Reading Room is open by appointment only:

Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-12pm and 1-4pm [closed 12-1pm]

Appointments must be coordinated with museum staff prior to your arrival. Object research appointments (Costume & Textiles and General Collections) must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance.

Research Fees

Archival Research Appointment                                                                                      

Includes: manuscripts, photographs, prints, books and ephemera

Cost: Free with museum admission

Object Research Appointment                                                                      

Includes: costume & textiles, decorative & fine arts, general household & business items

Cost: $40/hour/person (free first 2 hours for Valentine member and a guest)

*Request must be made at least 2 weeks in advance.

Remote Research                                                                                    

Includes: Research conducted by Valentine staff for a researcher

Cost: $40/hour

50% Discount for Members

To ask a research question, to make a rights and reproductions request or to schedule a research appointment, visit Submit a Research Question.

For rights and reproduction fees, see Valentine Production and Permission Fees.

Preparing for Your Research Visit

Before you arrive, here are some hints & rules to keep in mind:


  • Submit an appointment request through our Research Inquiry Form prior to arrival. Please allow up to two business days for a response.
  • See here for Research Hours & Fees.
  • Please be sure to alert us if you are a member of the Valentine to enjoy your reduced research fee if applicable.
  • Due to limited space, please let us know how many people will be in your research group at the time of scheduling.

Arrival & Registration

  • Check in at the front desk in the museum’s lobby upon arrival and then proceed to the 2nd floor. 
  • Researchers are required to complete a Researcher Registration Form prior to accessing the collection.

Personal Belongings

  • Lockers are available in the museum lobby and next to the reading room to secure belongings.

Permitted Items

  • Pencils
  • Notepaper
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Cell phone

Prohibited Items

  • Bags, purses and backpacks
  • Food and drink
  • Gum
  • Pens
  • Coats
  • Scanners
  • Tripods
  • Photography lighting equipment

Object Handling

  • All materials must remain in the respective research areas of the Valentine.
  • No marks or erasures may be made on the documents or objects.
  • Researchers wear gloves as directed by staff when handling collection items.
  • Food, drink and gum are prohibited. Please finish consuming before you arrive.


  • The use of ink pens for note-taking is prohibited. All note-taking must be done in pencil.
  • Pencils and notepaper are available if needed.

Photography and Copies

  • Photography and copying of collection items or documents is allowed for personal and research use only, provided that permission is granted by staff.
  • Lighting, tripods or other photography equipment are prohibited.
  • Flash photography is generally prohibited.
  • Scanners are prohibited.
  • Reproductions, replica, imitation, or copies of images and/or objects in the Valentine collection is prohibited without written permission from the Valentine.

Object Loans

Museums interested in borrowing items from the Valentine’s collection are welcome to contact Rachel Asbury Cole, Registrar, at 804-649-0711, ext. 329 or