The Valentine Staff and Board Leadership
Our Staff and Board
William J. Martin, Director
William “Bill” Martin, director of the Valentine, leads over 50 museum staff members in telling the story of Richmond lifestyle and culture. For more than 20 years, Martin has diversified the Valentine’s programming, expanded Richmond walking tours and group tours, and worked collaboratively in the community to promote city tourism initiatives. Martin holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and an M.A. in Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Following years of experience directing museums in Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, he joined the then-Valentine Museum in 1993 as Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Under his leadership, the institution has expanded civic involvement, developed more than 300 themed tours and raised millions for capital improvements, renovated historic structures and expanded programming.
Martin serves on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Business Council and Leadership Metro Richmond. He chairs the Richmond Region Museum Directors and is a member of the Richmond Mayor’s Tourism Commission. Martin has been actively involved in community conversations about societal issues and cultural enrichment and recently collaborated with many educators and scholars to create a downtown heritage walking trail, the Richmond Liberty Trail, which joins the Richmond Slave Trail.
Before joining the Valentine, Martin was Director, Tourism and Museums for the City of Petersburg, Virginia; Executive Director of the Jacksonville Museum of Arts & Science in Florida, and Executive Director of the Okeefenokee Heritage Center/Southeastern Forest World in Waycross, Georgia.
Martin shared his philosophy about Richmond’s future in an interview with Richmond-based company, Ledbury in 2014:
“We can think about a future of Richmond that’s not totally embedded in what we think our past looks like. The past doesn’t define the future, it informs it. There’s this tension between how we think about our past and what our past was. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that tension, because that’s where our energy is. In the tension from our past is where we might find ourselves better.”
John C. Stanchina, Chairman, Valentine Board of Trustees
John Stanchina is President of Rutherfoord, a Marsh & McClennan agency LLC company specializing in employee benefits and risk management. The company’s roots date to 1794 when Thomas Rutherfoord helped finance the Mutual Assurance Society, an insurance company which wrote policies for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and a “declaration” for George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. In addition to leading the Valentine, Stanchina is actively involved in many Richmond area civic organizations.
Sarah M. Kim, Deputy Director
Sarah M. Kim, Deputy Director, joins the Valentine from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts where she was assistant director of development,expanding alumni networks and major donor support. Kim served on the volunteer and staff team that raised $32 million for the VCU Institute of Contemporary Art, which broke ground in June 2014 and is slated for completion in 2016.
Before VCU, Kim was Executive Director of the Neighborhood Resource Center in Richmond’s Fulton Hill and oversaw capital campaigns and program growth at the Science Museum of Virginia, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and the James River Association. Kim has also traveled the country promoting civics education programs for high school students. She graduated from the College of William & Mary with B.A. degrees in Psychology and Art History. She is part of the TEDxRVA leadership team and serves on the board of Art 180.
David Voelkel, Elise H. Wright Curator of the General Collection
David Voelkel joined the Valentine in 2012 as the Elise H. Wright Curator of the General Collection. David was awarded a B.A. from Mary Washington College in Historic Preservation and an M.A. from the University of Leicester in England in Museum Studies with a concentration in Social History. Prior to joining the Valentine, David was Curator for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia. He also served the Commonwealth of Virginia as Curator of the State Art Collection and held the position of Keeper of the Collection (Director-Curator) of the Bath Preservation Trust’s The Building of Bath Museum, Bath, England.
Kristen Stewart, Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costumes & Textiles
On September 1, 2014, Kristen E. Stewart will return to her native Richmond to begin work with the Valentine as the Nathalie L. Klaus Curator of Costumes and Textiles. For the grand re-opening of the Valentine, she plans to uncover the classical roots in Richmond fashion with selections from its 40,000-piece costume and textile collection. Stewart leaves a position as curatorial assistant in San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, where she has worked since 2013 in the Caroline & H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts.
Before residing in San Francisco, Stewart lived and worked in New York with the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She held a research position in the collection and lectured throughout the U.S. and in England. Stewart earned her M.A., Cum Laude, in Fashion and Textile Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. Prior to completing her masters, Stewart worked with the Calvin Klein Archive and as an assistant designer and fashion illustrator in the garment district. Stewart earned a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Fashion Design, the school that ignited her passion for fashion.
Meg Hughes, Curator of Archives
Meg Hughes, Curator of Archives, joined the Valentine in 2004 and manages the museum’s archival holdings and research services. She holds an M.S. in Information (Archives and Records Management) from the University of Michigan and an A.B. in History from Princeton University. Prior to the Valentine, Meg worked and interned at Princeton’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Yale University Library (Manuscripts and Archives) and the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library.
Shannon Petska, E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs
Shannon Petska, E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. Director of Public Programs, joined the Valentine in 2012 as a History Center teacher before becoming Director of Public Programs in 2013. She holds a B.F.A. in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Wilmington University as well as a Virginia teaching license. Prior to working for the Valentine she was a Production Coordinator for film and television and taught elementary school. Petska began working in educational programming for non-profits in 2009, including Junior Achievement in Delaware and Richmond and later as Volunteer Coordinator for the Maymont Foundation.
Ken Myers, Director of Operations and Capital Projects
Ken Myers, Director of Operations and Capital Projects, joined the Valentine in 1994. His B.A. in History from Virginia Commonwealth University led him to intern with the Valentine and he has served in various capacities since he began, most recently facilitating much of the renovation and construction projects the Valentine has undertaken.
Lauren R. Plotkin, Director of Annual Giving
Lauren R. Plotkin, Director of Annual Giving, started with the Valentine in June 2011 after working as Associate Director of Development at the McLean School of Maryland for four years. She also spent four years prior to this in development at Georgetown University, most recently as the Assistant Director of Regional and Reunion Advancement. Plotkin holds a B.A. in Journalism from University of Maryland, College Park and an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.
Caitlin Orrison, Retail and Visitor Services Manager
Caitlin Orrison, Retail and Visitor Services Manager, joined the Valentine in April 2014. She was previously employed with various international and domestic organizations and non-profits including a manager at the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown. She earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Religion and Social Change from Long Island University.
Marisa Day, Assistant Director of Public Programs
Marisa Day joined the Valentine in June 2013 as Assistant Director of Public Programs from her work as Programs Assistant and Educator with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has worked with a number of cultural institutions including the Virginia Commonwealth University Honors College, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She earned a B.A. in History from University of Mary Washington and a M.A. in Art History/Museum Studies from V.C.U. She currently teaches in the art museum studies program at University of Mary Washington.
Domenick Casuccio, Director of Public Relations and Marketing
Domenick Casuccio, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, joined the Valentine in 2011 and manages marketing, communications and brand strategy. He is currently overseeing a re-branding of the Valentine, which is slated to reopen after a multi-million dollar renovation in October 2014. Casuccio worked previously for the American Cancer Society in the South Atlantic Division as Regional Communications and Marketing Director of Virginia and West Virginia. He earned a B.S. in Journalism and Public Relations from West Virginia University.