“Monumental” Exhibition Explores the Role of Richmond’s Monuments

June 21, 2018

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Monumental Exhibition Explores the Role of Richmond’s Monuments


Washington Monument. January 3, 1980. Photo: Gary Burns, V.85.37.1475, Richmond Times-Dispatch Collection, The Valentine

RICHMOND – A new exhibition looking at the role and context of Richmond’s monuments opens at the Valentine on the Fourth of July.

Through images, objects and multimedia, Monumental: Richmond’s Monuments (1607-2018) examines the city’s many public monuments, beginning with the Newport Cross and concluding with the planned Emancipation Monument on Brown’s Island. This timely exhibition will spur important reflections about what we have chosen to commemorate and what we have chosen to forget.

“As the debate involving monuments continues across the nation and right here in Richmond, we are excited to use this exhibition to provide important historical context,” said David Voelkel, the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections. “Our goal is to allow the public to make up their own minds about the role these monuments play in our community in 2018.”

Richmond’s monuments have continued to spark debate and generate attention, interest and outcry.  With the imminent release of Mayor Stoney’sMonument Avenue Commission’s report, this exhibition opens to the public at a pivotal time for the Richmond community.

“Our mission as an institution has always been to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by using Richmond’s past to inform the present and improve the future,” said Director Bill Martin. “This exhibition examines the context of these structures to discover exactly what they meant to us in the past and what they mean to us today, and the Valentine is committed to serving the community as a space to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about our city’s complicated history.”