The Valentine First Freedom Center commemorates and educates about freedom of religion and conscience as proclaimed in Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This 1786 Virginia law, brilliantly shepherded through the General Assembly by James Madison, laid the ideological groundwork for the religion clauses of the First Amendment and has served as a model for other state constitutions and constitutions around the world. It is considered the essential counterpart to the Declaration of Independence.
The Valentine First Freedom Center teaches the extraordinary history that led to Virginia’s declaration of non-establishment and free exercise, and shows how these Jeffersonian principles continue shedding light on every public matter involving religious liberty. The center’s current location is positioned on the same site where Virginia’s temporary capitol stood in Richmond and where the statute was enacted.
Convenient parking is available at the 14th Street Parking Deck (1410 S. Cary Street). Parking rates are by the hour. No attendant is on site; credit/debit card or cash is required to pay by machine when exiting. Metered on-street parking is also available, as are other area lots.
The Valentine First Freedom Center, located on the corner of South 14th & Cary Streets, Richmond, VA 23219, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, 12-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.