Sculpting History Resources

Sculpting History at the Valentine Studio: Art, Power, and the “Lost Cause” American Myth is an exhibition that examines how the Lost Cause myth was spread through centers of power, like media, education, politics, money, religion, and violence. Explore educational resources related to the exhibition and the Lost Cause below, including primary and secondary sources, lesson plans, stories, podcasts Valentine student programs and a reading list for digging deeper.

In 1866, Richmond journalist and editor, Edward Pollard, wrote The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates which was one of the first pieces in a propaganda campaign that reframed the history of the American Civil War and established a series of beliefs that benefitted white southerners.

The “Lost Cause” was a campaign to convince the public that:

1) The war was fought to protect Southern states’ rights, not the institution of slavery.
2) Slavery was a beneficial social structure for both enslavers and the enslaved.
3) The South’s role in the war was not a treasonous act against the United States.

The Lost Cause myth was spread through the centers of power: media, politics/money, education, religion, and violence.

Primary & Secondary Sources

Lesson Plans

Studio Lesson Plan
Grades 6-12
Students analyze primary sources from promoters and resisters of the Lost Cause.

Monument Avenue’s Beginnings
Grades 6-12
Students analyze primary sources related to the creation of the Robert E. Lee monument on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.

What’s Missing From Richmond’s Monumental Landscape?
Grades 4-12
Students analyze a variety of monuments looking at representation and design.

Featured Stories


Student Programs

Reading List

Guide for the Exhibition Sculpture Wall