1015 E. Clay St.
Second place: UnlockingRVA
Third place: Virginia Museum of History & Culture
An important resource for all things Richmond, the Valentine was the first museum in the River City, founded by Mann S. Valentine II in 1898. And in recent years, it’s been a crucial voice in telling alternative histories of the region.
The Valentine reopened on June 30 with new safety guidelines and measures in place, which include free admission for the summer, requiring protective face coverings, timed tickets, which can be reserved online, and limited attendance.
Now-visitable exhibitions that opened before the museum’s closure due to the pandemic include “This is Richmond, Virginia,” a permanent exhibition, “Voices from Richmond’s Hidden Epidemic,” a nuanced look at the HIV/AIDS crisis, and “#BallotBattle: Richmond’s Social Struggle for Suffrage,” which uses social media platforms to profile local viewpoints and tensions of the past. The Valentine First Freedom Center is now open, and a new costume and textiles exhibition titled “Ain’t Misbehavin: 1920s Richmond,” opened July 21. It tells the complicated story of that period through the lens of fashion.
“We’re excited to be open, because during this unique and historic moment in our community, we believe the Valentine can be an important resource for people,” says Eric Steigleder, its communications director.