Last updated: 6/15/2013
Richmond, Virginia
Street Address
1015 E. Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Mailing Address
1015 E. Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 noon - 5:00 pm
Monday Closed

Monday Holidays the Museum is Open to the Public: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day.

One-day admission to the Valentine Richmond History Center exhibition galleries, the Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio, and the Wickham House (1812):

*The History Center is participating as a Blue Star Museum this year. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. We are offering FREE entrance for all active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Restrictions may apply.

For $10, a Court End Passport includes admission to all of the above, as well as the John Marshall House (Mar. - Dec.) and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. Valid for one year from date of purchase.

The John Marshall House is located within walking distance of the History Center. The Black History Museum is a longer walk and a short drive.

You also may be interested in visiting the Virginia State Capitol, which is open daily, is free to the public and is located two blocks from the History Center.

Adults (19 and older): $8
Seniors (over 55): $7
Military (with ID through Labor Day*): Free
History Center Members: Free
Students (): $7
Children (7-18): $7
Children under 6: Free
Gift Shop
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Group Tours
Mr. William Martin, Director
phone: 804-649-0711 x340
Domenick Casuccio, Director of PR & Marketing
phone: 804-649-0711

Formerly known as the Valentine Museum, the Valentine Richmond History Center is the only organization dedicated to documenting Richmond's dynamic history and is playing a key role in revitalizing downtown Richmond.

The History Center is located on Clay Street between 10th and 11th Streets, two blocks north of the Virginia Capitol Building and two blocks west of the Museum and White House of the Confederacy. The Richmond Visitor Center, situated inside the Richmond Convention Center, is six blocks away.

The century-old Valentine Richmond History Center in historic Court End features revolving and permanent exhibitions, educational programs, and guided city tours that explore and interpret the lifestyle and culture of the city. Purchase a Court End Passport for $10 and gain admission to the Wickham House (1812), the John Marshall House, the galleries of the History Center and the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia

Richmond History Tours, a service of the History Center, offers the only specialty walking and bus tours in the city. Tours are offered April through December. Stroll through some of the nation's oldest neighborhoods, ride past sites that played a key role in women's history, or tour Richmond's famous Hollywood Cemetery, final resting place for presidents and thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers. For a complete tour schedule, visit or call the Tour Hotline (804) 649-0711 option 4. Custom, school and group tours are available year around.


The mission of the Richmond History Center is to engage, educate, and challenge a diverse audience by collecting, preserving, and interpreting Richmond's history.


The history of the institution begins with Mann S. Valentine, Jr., the museum's founder, who made his fortune with the creation and production of Valentine's Meat Juice, a health tonic made from pure beef juice. As did many men of his era, Mann collected artifacts. His collection may have begun, as rumored, with a cigar box filled with arrowheads, but it soon grew to comprise hundreds of objects.

Mann shared his love of history with his brother, renowned sculptor Edward V. Valentine. Mann laid the foundation for the museum in 1892; when he died in 1893, he provided the original bequest for the Valentine Museum, leaving his personal collection of art and artifacts and the 1812 Wickham House.

Over time, the institution has evolved from a general art and history museum to one focusing on the life and history of Richmond, Virginia. For more than 100 years, the Richmond History Center has collected, preserved and interpreted the materials of Richmond's life and history. Through its collections, exhibitions and programs it reflects and interprets the broad issues and diverse communities which define the history of Richmond and its surrounding counties. The History Center is the only institution in the city committed solely to this mission.

Over time, the institution has evolved from a general art and history museum to one focusing on the life and history of Richmond, Virginia. For more than 100 years, the Richmond History Center has collected, preserved and interpreted the materials of Richmond's life and history. Through its collections, exhibitions and programs it reflects and interprets the broad issues and diverse communities which define the history of Richmond and its surrounding counties. The History Center is the only institution in the city committed solely to this mission.

The Richmond History Center offers major changing exhibitions, which focus on American urban and social history, costumes, decorative arts and architecture. The History Center includes the stately 1812 Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark and outstanding example of neoclassical architecture featuring rare wall paintings.

Artifact Collections

A vast anthology of household and decorative items, industrial artifacts, fine art and works on paper, totaling over 900,000 objects. This collection documents the daily life of Richmond, and includes such diverse groups as dolls, toys, games, weapons, sporting goods, musical instruments, furniture, glassware and ceramics, kitchen and cooking wares, personal items for men and women, Native American artifacts, and objects associated with Richmond?s industries. Rare and common objects are found in every category.

  • The Decorative Arts Collection: Furniture, glass, silver and ceramics make up this collection of over 25,000 objects. The History Center houses an extensive collection of Richmond-made furniture, as well as examples of work by sophisticated craftsmen such as Lannuier, Knoll and Werkstatte designers. A pair of 19th century card tables by the French cabinet maker Charles Honore Lannuier are part of the original furnishings of the 1812 Wickham House.
  • Fine Arts Collection ; This noteworthy collection includes paintings, drawings and sculpture. The collection houses works from the 18th to the 20th centuries, and includes work of and by Virginians. The portrait collection contains works by artists such as Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, Robert Sully, William James Hubard, William L. Sheppard, John Wesley Jarvis, Conrad Wise Chapman, John Gadsby Chapman and G.P.A. Healy.
  • Watercolors range from Richmond?s early life with the work of Raphaelle Peale and Laurence Sully to the 20th century scenes of Margaret Dashiell. The sculpture studio of Edward V. Valentine, a 19th century Richmond sculptor and the brother of the History Center's founder, is located on the museum grounds. Valentine's work includes many well-known pieces, such as the Recumbent Lee at Washington and Lee University and Thomas Jefferson, located in the lobby of the Jefferson Hotel.
  • Industrial Artifacts Collection; The industrial collection of the Valentine includes objects ranging from a mortar and pestle to objects from Richmond?s leading corporations. Notable within the collection are artifacts from Richmond?s tobacco industry including cutting machines, cigarette-rolling machinery, and tobacco-bagging equipment. The neon sign collection highlights the history of Richmond?s businesses featuring local and national trademarks.
  • Costume Collection: The Costume Collection contains clothing and accessories worn by Virginians of all ages and social class for private and public occasions. Every major silhouette in women's fashion from the 1770s through the present day is found in the collection. Men's and children's clothing is also well represented from the late 18th century through the 20th century. This collection also includes accessories such as hats, shoes, gloves and purses.
  • Textile Collection: The Textile Collection includes important groups of 18th and 19th century quilts, woven coverlets and embroidered samplers, as well as a wide range of household flat textiles.
  • Tobacco Collection: From the early days of its settlement, Richmonders relied on tobacco as a staple crop and a means to accumulate land and wealth. Even after the Civil War changed the work patterns of tobacco farmers, this leaf continued ? and continues ? to play a major part in Richmond's economy.
  • African Americans: Richmond's history encompasses the struggles and accomplishments of the city's African and African American residents as they shaped, reacted, resisted and revolted to the laws and cultural norms creating Richmond.
  • The Red Cross: Thanks to the Greater Richmond Chapter of the American Red Cross, the History Center is home to a spectacular Red Cross collection. Among the thousands of items are photographs, booklets, uniforms, hats, pins and other items that document the history of one of Richmond?s most important service organizations.
  • Research Collections

    Extensive archives. Available by appointment:

    Educational Programs

    The History Center is more than objects behind glass. We offer a variety of educational programming and city tours for people of all ages. Educators may choose from a selection of SOL-aligned programs and tours for students in grades pre-K through 12. Most programs are available both at the museum and on-site, in the classroom.

    • For adult groups, curator lectures are a great way to learn about Richmond?s past. You can come here, or we?ll come to you.
    • A robust selection of walking and bus tours of the Richmond area is offered to the public, April through December. If these don?t work with your schedule, or if you prefer a specific topic, private and custom tours are available.
    • Some programs and tours require reservations, some do not. Please check specific descriptions. All programs and tours are led by trained History Center teachers and tour guides. Staff members are constantly developing new programming, both on-site and on location. We welcome your feedback and look forward to seeing you soon.

    The Auditorium and Conference Room will not be available November 2013 through Summer 2014 due to renovation of the space.

    Garden: This is a great place to entertain a new client, mark a company anniversary or celebrate a family member?s recent accomplishment. Unwind after daytime conference meetings, entertain your guests under the stars and dine by candlelight.

    Gray Family Terrace: An elegant, brick and blue stone outdoor space located on the south side of the museum building. The terrace can be tented and features vintage neon signs from Richmond businesses.

    Multi-Purpose Room: An excellent space for a working lunch, company board meeting or office party. *Please note that this space is not available November 2013 through Summer 2014 for renovation of the space.

    Multi-Purpose Room: An excellent space for a working lunch, company board meeting or office party. *Please note that this space is not available November 2013 through Summer 2014 for renovation of the space.

    Scheduling Your Event: All reservations must be complete a minimum of 30 days in advance of your event.


    Lecture Halls

    Performance Areas


    Researching Buildings: The Archives holds the papers of Mary Wingfield Scott, which includes information on buildings built before 1860. Richmond City Directories provide helpful information on businesses, churches, houses, residents, African Americans, occupations and early telephone numbers. Architectural drawings can shed light on the construction of a building. Photographs show Richmond building and landscapes and how they have changed over time.

    Researching Genealogy: The Archives has personal papers, newspaper clippings and photographs that relate to Richmond families. City Directories are useful resources for tracing a person's residence and occupation. Business records and personal papers may link individuals with organizations and businesses. Diaries and personal recollections can also provide information on Richmond families.

    The Civil War: The Archives has much material on the subject of America?s Civil War. Prints and photographs show soldiers, key leaders, battlefields and buildings that played a major role in this conflict. The collection includes maps, papers, newspaper accounts and one young woman?s diary. Books about the Civil War and Richmond?s involvement are also helpful resources.

    Vertical Files Collection: The Archives has a large collection of vertical files containing newspaper clippings, magazine articles and other research materials that document people, places, and events in Richmond and Virginia. This document is an index of the major subject headings of the History Center?s Richmond History Vertical Files. Materials in this collection date from the late 19th century until the present and are arranged by subject.

    Book and Manuscript Collection: The book collection includes art, reference works, rare books, atlases and city directories. The Manuscript Collection includes personal papers, ledgers, business records, architectural drawings and diaries. There are approximately 150 maps of Richmond and Henrico County as well as newspaper articles and periodicals and serials published in Richmond.

    Ephemera Collection: The Ephemera Collection includes a wide variety of printed materials that show the material culture of Richmond. These documents include programs, postcards, holiday cards, invitations, theater playbills, broadsides, menus and scrapbooks.

    Photograph Collection: The Archives holds one million photographs that document people, places, businesses, churches and neighborhoods. Chances are you've seen one of our photos in a publication or documentary; our collection is known worldwide and our photographs have appeared in many publications.

    Print Collection: The print collection consists of engravings, lithographs, and examples of other printing methods and includes well-known pieces such as "The Fall of Richmond" by Currier and Ives, Edward Beyer's "Album of Virginia" and William H. Bennett's "Richmond from Hollywood.


    Appointment required: Yes


    The History Center publishes the Timeline newsletter twice a year. Copies are mailed to History Center members and an electronic version is posted online.

    The Annual Report is published each year and mailed to donors and members. An electronic copy is available on the website.

  • Timeline Newsletter
  • Annual Report
  • ADA

    Wheelchair Accessible




    The Valentine Gift Shop which offers a unique selection of giftware, toys, books, and vintage 8" x 10" prints reproduced from our extensive photograph collection.

    The Gift Shop's physical location offers a larger selection and is open daily: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12-5pm

    Gift Shop

    Online Gift Shop

    Special Event Rental


    Group Tours

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