Posts

76 Years of Neighborhood Tours!

The Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs Liz Reilly-Brown discusses the history of the Valentine’s neighborhood tours.

FIC.031797; “Carrington Row Tour”; Oct 28 1967; The Richmond Times-Dispatch

In the fall of 1942, the Valentine and historic preservation champion Mary Wingfield Scott launched a series of walking tours exploring Richmond. The Valentine had recently opened the exhibition Old Richmond Neighborhoods, a project that grew out of Scott’s efforts to document the city’s vulnerable historic neighborhoods and architecture. These early walking tours brought Richmond citizens together to explore their city, visiting areas such as Gamble’s Hill, Church Hill, Oregon Hill, Jackson Ward and Hollywood Cemetery.

Tours were among the methods utilized by Scott to spread the gospel of historic preservation. Scott educated residents about important examples of architecture and historic places in their own backyards, sites she believed were in need of saving from ongoing threats of demolition, disrepair and development.

V.85.37.4033; “Group Tours Restoration Project in Church Hill”; 1972; The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Thus, the Valentine’s tour program was born (though not always offered consistently and stewarded for a time by Historic Richmond Foundation). Today, the museum continues Scott’s work by providing Richmonders with opportunities to explore their city by foot, bus and bike, with the goal of sharing diverse stories of Richmond residents and exploring the ever-changing landscape.

In my personal experience organizing the tour program, some of the most rewarding moments have occurred spontaneously as tour takers share their own stories. On a tour of Battery Park last spring, our group discussed the shifting demographics of the neighborhood in the last seventy years, and two attendees recalled their personal experiences during school desegregation. They soon discovered that they were former elementary school classmates, one white and one black.

2018 will mark 76 years since the first Valentine walking tours, and we have many exciting things in the store for the coming season.  Favorite tours will be back, such as Hollywood Cemetery, our downtown City Center Walks and beloved areas like Church Hill, Jackson Ward and Scotts Addition. New additions to our tour program will take attendees to different parts of the city and provide new perspectives, such as a stroll along the Floodwall exploring the history of Richmond and the James River, a walk through the Broad Street Arts District, a tour and work day at Evergreen Cemetery and an exploration of Carytown’s LGBTQ+ history.

We hope that by continuing to explore our city and unearth the important stories of its residents, we honor the legacy of Mary Wingfield Scott, and the numerous people who have contributed to the diversity, culture and history of Richmond.

On behalf of the Valentine, I invite you to join us for tours, April through December. More info can be found at thevalentine.org/tours.

Liz Reilly-Brown is the Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs at the Valentine

Typhoid Fever!

Curator of Archives Meg Hughes discusses our changing understanding of Richmond’s Typhoid outbreaks and Pandemic: Richmond, the Valentine’s upcoming exhibition 

In 2014, museum technician Laura Carr wrote about the digitization of a series of lantern slides donated by the Richmond Health Department to the Valentine in 1981. The slides depict efforts to eradicate typhoid fever in Richmond. At the time, we did not have a lot of information to share about the images. Happily, recent staff research has brought to light new details about this interesting collection.

V.81.99.48

The Richmond Health Department formed in 1906. One of its early initiatives (1907) was to investigate 433 cases of typhoid fever, creating the city’s first systematic study of infectious disease. In 1908, Dr. Ernest C. Levy (1868–1938), head of the Richmond Health Department, published the survey findings in The Old Dominion Journal of Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Levy discussed the generally declining rate of typhoid fever cases in Richmond from 1880 to 1907 but noted several outbreaks of the disease in 1881, 1884 and 1900.

V.81.99.50

One change in our understanding of the lantern slide collection relates to the overall city map that begins the series.

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We originally understood the solid circles to indicate cases of typhoid fever, in which case the disease appeared to concentrate within the heart of the city. This is not the case. In fact, the solid circles represent properties with city-supplied water. Hollow circles represent properties with water provided by wells or springs. While one cluster of outbreaks in Church Hill was determined to come from a typhoid-infected confectioner, the larger proportion of cases were from properties on the outskirts of the city, generally using water from wells or springs and lacking sewage systems. Viewing the circles with this new information completely changes one’s interpretation of the map.

V.81.99.01

Museum visitors will learn more about Richmond’s fight against typhoid fever and other infectious diseases in May 2018 when Pandemic: Richmond opens in the Valentine’s Lower Level. This exhibition explores the repeated storms of disease that have swept through the city. From influenza to cholera to polio to AIDS/HIV, Pandemic: Richmond investigates how Richmonders have fought silent, invisible enemies and tells their stories of both loss and survival

Meg Hughes is the Curator of Archives at the Valentine

Events

History Hounds Explore Hollywood Cemetery

Dogs are invited to join their owners for this walking tour of Hollywood Cemetery, presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA. Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed. Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs. Reservations required.

Enjoy a fascinating walking tour of Richmond’s beautiful and iconic Hollywood Cemetery, the scenic final resting place for some of Virginia’s most well-known historical figures. Learn about the cemetery’s history, artwork and famous residents, including two U.S. Presidents, writer Ellen Glasgow, the Confederate President and numerous other celebrated individuals.

Please note that this tour is 1.5 to 2 miles and involves several inclines. Comfortable shoes and water are recommended.

 

Price: $15 Adult, $5 Valentine members, Children under 18 are FREE
Length: 2 hours
Parking: On Street
Meeting place: Meet at the Hollywood Cemetery entrance at Cherry and Albemarle streets, near the rear of the stone structure to the left.

 

Tour Notes

  • Reservations required.
  • Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.
  • Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.
  • Valentine walking tours are typically between 1-2 miles in length. We recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.
  • Accessibility- People of all abilities are encouraged to join us for tours. If you have accessibility challenges or need accommodation, please let us know in advance.
  • Tours are held rain or shine. However, in extreme weather a tour may be cancelled. Call 804-649-0711 x 301 to verify the tour will take place.

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History Hounds Explore Church Hill Walking Tour

Dogs are invited to join their owners for this walking tour of Church Hill, presented in partnership with the Richmond SPCA. Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed. Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.

Explore the evolving history of this venerable Richmond neighborhood, from the historic sections surrounding St. John’s Church, to modern renovation efforts, iconic parks and a thriving restaurant scene. Reservations required.

Price: $15 Adult, $5 Valentine members, Children under 18 are FREE
Length: 2 hours
Parking: On Street
Meeting place: Meet at Patrick Henry Park, East Broad and 24th streets.

 

Tour Notes

  • Reservations required.
  • Dogs must have current shots, mix well with others and remain leashed.
  • Owners are responsible for water and cleaning up after their dogs.
  • Valentine walking tours are typically between 1-2 miles in length. We recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.
  • Accessibility- People of all abilities are encouraged to join us for tours. If you have accessibility challenges or need accommodation, please let us know in advance.
  • Tours are held rain or shine. However, in extreme weather a tour may be cancelled. Call 804-649-0711 x 301 to verify the tour will take place.