New exhibit examines ‘important historical context’ of Richmond’s monuments

RICHMOND, Va. -- A new exhibition, Monumental: Richmond’s Monuments (1607-2018), opened at the Valentine today.

Through images, objects, and multimedia the exhibit examines the city’s public monuments beginning with the Newport Cross and concluding with the planned Emancipation Monument on Brown’s Island.

“As the debate involving monuments continues across the nation and right here in Richmond, we are excited to use this exhibition to provide important historical context,” said David Voelkel, the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections. “Our goal is to allow the public to make up their own minds about the role these monuments play in our community in 2018.”

With the recent recommendations from Mayor Stoney’s Monument Avenue Commission which called for the removal of the Jefferson Davis monument and the adding of context through signage for the other four statues, the exhibit comes at a pivotal time.

“Our mission as an institution has always been to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by using Richmond’s past to inform the present and improve the future,” said Director Bill Martin. “This exhibition examines the context of these structures to discover exactly what they meant to us in the past and what they mean to us today, and the Valentine is committed to serving the community as a space to have uncomfortable but necessary conversations about our city’s complicated history.”

The exhibit will be open until January 2, 2019. For more information visit the Valentine’s website.