How do you tell our region's complete story using just 50 items from its past? This is the challenge that David Voelkel accepted last year when he joined the Valentine Richmond History Center as its Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections. "It became a great way to learn the collection," he says, noting that 1.5 million objects are held in the institution's varied archives.
Thus, on Feb. 15, "The History of Richmond in 50 Objects" opens for a run through most of this year, until the Valentine begins its anticipated overhaul. A website, blog and social-media component will complement the exhibition, and visitors may suggest a "51st Object."
"If it doesn't provoke discussion, then I've failed as a curator," Voelkel says. Judging by the 15 objects below, he needn't worry.