The Valentine Explores Identity Through Dress

May 1, 2019

Eric Steigleder
Director of Public Relations & Marketing

The Valentine Explores Identity Through Dress

A new costume and textiles show presents visitors with a peek inside the collection to see who we are by what we wear

RICHMOND – Opening today, Dressing Identity is a one-of-a-kind two-part exhibition that presents a working Costume and Textiles Collections Lab alongside a gallery filled with powerful symbols of identity.

Taken together, these galleries provide a glimpse into how both the Valentine and the larger community claim, interpret and share identity through dress.

Dressing Identity: Caring for Collections features a Collections Lab on view where visitors can watch as members of the museum’s Costume and Textile team catalog, mount, photograph, label and prepare artifacts for storage in the museum’s collection. The lab will provide museum attendees with an inside-look at how the Valentine’s historic objects are protected for generations to come.

In the adjacent gallery and as a companion to Dressing Identity: Caring For Collections, Dressing Identity: Understanding Ourselves presents visible manifestations of grief, pride, honor, ambition, fear and joy. These objects from our collection speak in a broad array of symbolic languages that reflect the rich diversity of Richmond but also communicate a message that is shared by everyone.

“As visitors make their way through these two separate but unified galleries, I hope they will be touched by someone’s story and gain a better understanding of how we express who we are by what we wear,” said Kristen Stewart, the Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costume & Textiles. “I hope that the stories on view in both galleries inspire visitors to seek out deeper connections in their community.”

Dressing Identity will be on-view at the Valentine from May 1, 2019 to January 26, 2020 in the Nathalie L. Klaus Gallery on the Valentine’s lower level.



About the Valentine
The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond stories for more than a century. Through collections, exhibitions and programs, the Valentine provides residents and tourists the opportunity to discover the diverse stories that tell the broader history of this important region. The Valentine offers major changing exhibitions, which focus on American urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture.

About the Valentine Costume and Textiles Collection
The Costume and Textiles Collection at the Valentine comprises over 30,000 dress, accessory and textile objects made, sold, worn or used in Virginia from the late 18th century to the present day. The largest of its kind in the American South, this collection enjoys an international reputation among fashion and textile scholars.