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The Valentine reopens with fresh look at Richmond’s past, present and future

Posted at 8:39 AM, Oct 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-25 08:54:02-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A new chapter has begun for a Richmond institution that should have you seeing history in a whole new light . The Valentine, a repository of everything Richmond from Gwar to George Washington, NASCAR to Arthur Ashe, reopened to the public Saturday after a top to bottom renovation.

"We're not the same city. And we're not the same Valentine," the Valentine's Executive Director Bill Martin said. "What we were able to do with this process was open up the original building and reveal its bones."

The multi-million dollar year-long renovation included a new lobby, rotating exhibit space and education center. The Valentine curator Meg Hughes said the new Valentine felt like a completely different museum.

Greg McQuade chats with the Valentine's Executive Director Bill Martin.

Greg McQuade chats with the Valentine's Executive Director Bill Martin.

With larger exhibit space, the Valentine invites visitors to study some of its more than 1.6 million objects -- from the quirky to Colonial.

"Over time the galleries became a little tired," Martin admitted.

Martin said the Valentine is designed to push museum goers to think not only about the past and present, but the future too.

"This place has a tradition of pushing some limits asking questions differently," Martin said. "What do we value? Who has power? Where do we live?"

While this is not your grandmother's Valentine, "your grandmother would love what she sees," Martin said.

Martin added you should not be surprised if you see a little bit of yourself at the museum.

"You're part of the greater Richmond story," he said. "No matter where you're. No matter what part of the city you live in."