Controversy/History Returns for 11th Year with a Focus on the Future

September 22, 2023

Christina Swanson, MA
Director of PR & Marketing


RICHMOND, VA – Envision the future with the Valentine, during the 11th year of community conversations known as Controversy/History. Returning Thursday, October 5, 2023, this year’s series promises to be an engaging and thought-provoking exploration of the legacy of the Lost Cause and dive into how Richmond can move beyond the myth towards a brighter future.

In January of 2024, the Valentine will open a new exhibition, “Sculpting History,” which explores the myth of the Lose Cause through the lens of power. In this season of Controversy/History, speakers will explore the future of the big themes introduced in this exhibition – education, violence, politics, religion, and media – and consider the ideas and institutions of the past that still shape the Richmond community today.

The series will be co-hosted by Valentine Director Bill Martin, Kelli Lemon (of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Virginia Video Network), and “Sculpting History” co-curator Josh Epperson. Each event will feature a diverse panel of thought leaders carefully selected to address the specific subject matter. Attendees can look forward to interactive discussions, lively debates, and the chance to have their voices heard in the conversations that matter most to our community’s past, present, and future.

“Given that our present has been profoundly influenced by the past, we want to ask how we can purposefully shape the world of tomorrow,” said Director Bill Martin, “This series is an amazing opportunity for the community to really explore how we can build a future for Richmond that creates greater opportunity for all.”

2023/2024 Controversy/History Schedule:

Thursday, October 5, 2023, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Beyond the Book: Educating the Future

Thursday, November 2, 2023, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Beyond Law & Order: Building Community

Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Beyond Politics: Voicing Our Ideas

Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Faith & Beyond: Finding Our Moral Compass

Tuesday, February 13, 2024, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Beyond the Information Age: Supporting Truth-Based Media

Controversy/History is sponsored by Altria, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

These events are free and open to the public. More information can be found online at:


The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s 400-year history for over a century. Located in the heart of historic downtown, the Valentine is a place for residents and tourists to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region.

About Kelli Lemon: Kelli Lemon is passionate about how people “LIVE” Richmond, Virginia. Through Like The Fruit LLC, Kelli socially connects people through food, sports, arts and education. She owns social cafe and coffee shop, Urban Hang Suite, located in the historic Jackson Ward and Art’s districts of Richmond. Kelli is the Director of Digital Programming for Virginia Video Network and represents Richmond Time Dispatch online as its public face.

About Josh Epperson: Josh Epperson is an exhibition writer, idea generator, and storyteller. For over a decade, Josh has told stories for corporate bands, cultural institutions and art-focused non-profits. Human narrative and plain-spoken language have been the backbone of Josh’s approach. His voice and style have most recently been applied to national exhibitions with The Smithsonian Institution, The Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, the Valentine Museum, and businesses across the United States.

Press Contact
Christina Swanson