Who is the Virginia Man?

By Annie Tobey | May 17th, 2016

One of the Valentine's newest exhibits delves into this persona – a complex blending of many identities, from several centuries.

Who is the Virginia Man? Are you one – married to one – related to one? Richmond’s Valentine museum has searched its collections to present an exhibition that hints at this persona – a complex blending of many identities, from several centuries.

The Virginia Man: Respect, Responsibility, Rebellion uses clothing, hats, timepieces, guns and canes to present the many faces of the Virginia man. The men and their wardrobes fall within three themes: respect, responsibility and rebellion. The exhibition pulls out archetypes of masculinity embodied by and ascribed to Virginia men, but it isn’t afraid to celebrate those who thumb their noses at society’s expectations. The individual pieces represent not only prominent men but also those who are lesser known.

Examples include a walking cane owned by George Washington; uniforms for workers, cadets and soldiers; Ralph Sampson’s University of Virginia basketball uniform; Gov. L. Douglas Wilder’s morning suit; rocker T-shirts; and a 21st-century drag queen’s pageant gown. Exhibits also showcase some of Richmond’s menswear establishments, including S&K and Friedman-Marks Clothing.

As you wander the galleries of the exhibit, ask yourself what traits each piece engenders – and celebrate the diversity within our commonwealth!

The exhibit continues until Jan. 29, 2017. The Valentine is located at 1015 E. Clay St., Richmond | 804-649-0711

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