February 15 - October 20, 2013
“A History of Richmond in 50 Objects” explores the history of Richmond, Virginia, through a selection of objects from the Valentine Richmond History Center collection. Paying homage to “A History of the World in 100 Objects,” the ground-breaking partnership of the British Museum and BBC Radio 4 in 2010 that focused on world history, this exhibition continues the dialogue in a way that is uniquely Richmond. From an 1819 imprint of John Smith’s 1624 Map of Virginia to the rainbow flag that flew at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in 2011, “RVA 50” examines how objects contain layers of meaning that are both personal and public.
April 18, 2013 - October 20, 2013
For over 160 years, Richmonders have expressed themselves, documented the city and commemorated special occasions through the medium of photography. From the most formal studio portrait to a candid snapshot, photographs capture details about who we are and what we think about our city. The Valentine Richmond History Center preserves more than one million images. The collection spans the history of photographic technology from daguerreotypes to digital. “Framing Richmond: Recent Photography Acquisitions” showcases some of the images collected by the museum during the past five years.
This exhibit highlights the extensive and diverse collection of books, costumes, documents, drawings, furniture, glass, household items, paintings, photographs and textiles that are being preserved and used at the Richmond History Center. Displays of interesting museum collections and individual pieces give the visitor a unique glimpse of our collective past. Current rotations are:
These artifacts explore the experiences of public and private school students in Richmond. Objects date from the 1880s to the 1960s and chronicle how students, teams, schools, and student activities have continued to change.
Who doesn’t love to dress up for a party? Let's Party! features garments worn by Richmonders to various social events. Exhibit highlights include a dress made entirely of paper donned in 2010 for the reopening of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; an evening gown worn to a ball in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to Virginia in 1824; and a tuxedo jacket made from fabric printed with Richmond Times-Dispatch articles.
This rotation features an assortment of items from the Holt Tobacco Collection, including tobacco tins, advertisements, tools, books and cigarette cards. It was collected by Bernard Stuart “Skip” Holt (1932-2011) and donated to the Museum recently by his wife Carol A. Holt.
First Lady Maureen McDonnell unveiled portraits of all ten living Virginia First Ladies in October 2011. Of the ten, four remain on view in the Executive Mansion, four are currently on view at the Valentine Richmond History Center, and the remaining two can be viewed at the Library of Virginia. They are displayed in honor of the contributions each of these women has made to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The First Ladies have consistently supported their husbands, have taken on special initiatives and projects, volunteered countless hours, served as hostess to Virginia’s honored guests, and maintained the Executive Mansion as an historic but active home. Mrs. McDonnell’s support of the portrait project is her way of honoring each of these women’s contributions. The life portraits were painted by five Virginia female artists and were funded by Altria and Dominion, and through the support of Minds Wide Open, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Portraits can currently be viewed at:
Susan Allen, by Nancy Mauck
Katherine Godwin, by Loryn Brazier
Maureen McDonnell, by Loryn Brazier
Lynda Robb, by Julia Williams
Library of Virginia
Jeannie Baliles, by Nahid Neff
Virginia “Jinks” Holton, by Christy Talbott
Valentine Richmond History Center
Lisa Collis, by Nancy Mauck
Edwina “Eddy” Dalton, by Julia Williams
Roxane Gilmore, by Nahid Neff
Anne Holton, by Christy Talbott
Closed April 2013
The Wickham House is a spectacular example of 19th century neoclassic architecture and displays some of the country's finest examples of interior decorative painting. Today, the house and its contents continues to foster artistic creation. Students from the nationally recognized Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts have created site-specific works of art inspired and informed by its architecture and history. This innovative project allows the visitor to investigate new interpretive approaches for historic houses. The exhibit explores contemporary responses to the House in a variety of media and disciplines. Look for these original masterpieces in the front hall, the parlor, the drawing room, upstairs and in the basement. We hope that these works of art inspire you.
Closed March 2013
This exhibition focuses on the rising popularity of body art, specifically tattoos, broadly in American culture and locally in Richmond. In 2010, NBC’s “The Today Show” listed Richmond as the third most tattooed city in the United States, citing the city’s high number of tattoo shops per capita. This year the History Center partnered with local photographer Terry Brown to document locally-made tattoos. The exhibition is on display in the Stern Gallery located on the ground floor of the History Center.
Closed January 2013
Curated from all of the museum’s collecting areas, the exhibit tells the story of Richmond residents who fought both at home and abroad to advance the American cause. “I am well and war is Hell” explores the sacrifices made by Richmond residents, the role of women at home and in the service and the innovative ways people coped with life during wartime. This exhibit is the third in a series of exhibitions focused on 20th century history. View this exhibition in the Massey Gallery located on the main floor of the History Center.
Closed September 2012
This photograph exhibit features images of the various local and national organizations that provide social services and advocate for members of the Richmond community. Highlights of the show include examples of late 19th and 20th century efforts to fight poverty, homelessness and hunger. The exhibition also documents the local volunteers and philanthropists who have worked to improve child, senior and animal welfare and to provide education, job training and health care. View this exhibition in the Stern Gallery located on the ground floor of the History Center.
Closed March 2012
An exploration of Henrico County’s history on the 400thanniversary of its founding, this photography exhibition includes images taken in Henrico from the 19th century to the present. Drawing upon the photograph collections of both the History Center and Henrico County, “Into Focus” chronicles how times have changed architectural and culturally throughout the county. Originally named Henricus, Henrico was settled by the Virginia Company in 1611, making it the second English settlement in North America. The exhibition documents the county’s five districts of Brookland, Fairfield, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe, and Varina and includes photographs from historic sites such the J.E.B Stuart Monument at Yellow Tavern.
Closed October 2011
This exhibition includes nine gowns worn by Virginia First Ladies to the inaugural balls and receptions held to honor the new governor. These evening dresses present a glimpse into the personal style of each woman and the fashion of the time. Fashion in the state Capitol has followed the major trends of the 20th century. The Virginia First Lady gowns were purchased at local dress shops or department stores, and one was designed by a prominent New York fashion designer.
Closed October 2011
An exhibition of mid-to-late century images from the History Center's Richmond Times-Dispatch Collection, as determined by the winners of a caption contest held in February 2011. The public was invited to submit original, creative captions for up to 100 random images from this collection. The winning captions appear alongside their respective photos, along with the actual captions that ran in the Richmond Newspapers, in an exhibition on view concurrently at the History Center and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Closed February 2011
Originally incorporated as a town in 1769, Manchester developed into an independent city directly south of Richmond across the James River and was incorporated into the City of Richmond in 1910. An early center of shipping and the slave trade, Manchester also was home to numerous mills and factories. Its main thoroughfare Hull Street developed into the area’s commercial core, serving the surrounding suburbs of Spring Hill, Blackwell, Forest Hill, Bainbridge, Woodland Heights and Swansboro.
Closed September 2010
This exhibition demonstrates life in Richmond during the Great Depression, which lasted from October 1929 until the U.S. entered World War II. In the midst of calamity, Richmond residents joined other Americans in an explosion of political, organizational and cultural creativity. Several important local businesses, organizations and cultural institutions were established during this period.
Closed March 2010
This photography exhibition explores Richmond’s 20th century theater community, examining playhouses and movie theaters, professional and amateur actors, and memorable events and personalities. Visitors will see images documenting the city’s rich theater history, from the Academy of Music and Biograph Theater to the Little Theatre League and Eddie Weaver. Additional playbills, tickets, posters and other theater memorabilia are located in cases outside of the Stern Gallery.
Closed December 2010
The Greater Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross was established in 1917 to assist the needs of the community during World War I and has continued to be a vital part of the Richmond’s service community. From its work with servicemen and disabled veterans, the Red Cross has grown to include disaster preparedness and recovery, life safety, first aid and community service. This exhibition features volunteer uniforms, including Nurses and Motor Corp volunteers, as well as clothing worn by volunteers in New York City on September 11, 2001. Visitors also will see posters, photographs, service pins and documents.
Closed September 2009
With stunning imagery and artifacts, the History Center revisits citywide conflicts over integration, civil rights, urban planning, transportation and political representation.
Closed September 2009
Bordered by Cary and Belvidere Streets to the north and east and Oregon Hill Parkway and Hollywood Cemetery to the south and west, Oregon Hill was settled in the 1840s by immigrant ironworkers and developed into a tight-knit working class neighborhood. Using images from the History Center's collection, the exhibition traces the development of the neighborhood’s residents, businesses, institutions and preservation challenges.