Best Place to Learn About Richmond 

Readers' Pick

click to enlarge arts_valentine.jpg

First place:

The Valentine

1015 E. Clay St.

Second Place: UnlockingRVA

Third Place: Virginia Museum of History & Culture

When the famous salad bathtub from Strawberry Street Café got removed, guess who it was donated to? That's right. The Valentine museum, depository of all things Richmond. Led by Director William J. Martin for the past 25 years, the Valentine works to elevate the importance of history, particularly that of the river city.

The institution's director of public relations and marketing, Eric Steigleder, points to its mission: "to engage, educate and challenge a diverse audience by collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond's history," as well as its institutional vision: "To be recognized as the premier source for experiencing Richmond's history — using its past to inform the present and shape the future." Well, our readers recognize the Valentine for it.

It has been ahead of the curve in terms of diverse programming with past exhibitions exploring local Latino culture and LGBTQ family issues. This June will be the fourth season of the Music in the Garden series. The events will pair artists from different musical traditions to perform back-to-back in the Valentine garden from 6 to 8 p.m. These include Deau Eyes and Justin Golden on June 6, BlackLiq and Matt Coyle on June 13 and Paulo Franco on June 20.

Recently opened inside the Valentine on May 1 is the "Dressing Identity" exhibit, which "presents a working costume and textiles collections lab as well as a gallery of objects which present powerful symbols of identity," according to the website.


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