Recorded Session: Richmond’s Monumental Opportunities

Recorded On: 10/13/2021

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Session Description

Richmond’s Monumental Opportunities is a Recorded Live Session of the 2021 AASLH Online Conference.

In 2020, the Lost Cause monuments came down from Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA. In 2021, institutions are embracing monumental opportunities to collaborate with each other and with the community to face our past, dismantle the Lost Cause mythology, and craft a new vision for the future.


Chair: Christina Keyser Vida Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections at The Valentine Museum
As the Elise H. Wright Curator of General Collections at the Valentine Museum, Christina Vida is responsible for the maintenance, development, and interpretation of the general objects collection and preservation of the Wickham House. She is also project manager for the reinterpretation of the Edward Valentine Sculpture Studio, the 19th-century studio where Edward V. Valentine crafted many of Virginia’s Confederate and white supremacist statues. Vida received her BA in History from the College of William and Mary in 2005 and a MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware in 2007. Vida has previously worked in curatorial and education roles at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Windsor Historical Society (CT), and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (Virginia Historical Society).
Twitter: @thevalentineRVA or @christinakvida

Stephanie Arduini Deputy Director, and Director, Edward L. Ayers Center for Civil War and Emancipation Studies at American Civil War Museum
Stephanie Arduini oversees the Museum’s education, interpretation, exhibits, and collections. She led the interpretive planning for the Museum after its 2013 merger between the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy, and has overseeing programming, exhibits, and community collaborations that confront the history of slavery, racism, white supremacy, and the Lost Cause. Her experience includes managing interpretation during the city-wide collaborative commemoration of the Civil War and Emancipation’s 150th anniversary, managing the cross-institutional On Monument Avenue digital project, overseeing the Museum’s House of the Lost Cause exhibit, and directing the upcoming Emancipation and Evolving American Identity NEH Summer Teachers Institute. She not only brings an educational lens to the group, but can also speak to the institutional politics of engaging in these efforts.
Twitter: @ACWMuseum or @sfarduini

Valerie Cassel Oliver Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has worked previously at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, National Endowment for the Arts. Cassel Oliver has organized numerous exhibitions and retrospectives and helped curate the 2000 Biennial for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. In 2019, she organized the acquisition of Kehinde Wiley’s monumental Rumors of War for the VMFA and in 2020 the VMFA was tapped by the Commonwealth of Virginia to spearhead the reimagining of Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
Twitter: @vmfa

Ana Edwards Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
Ana Edwards, chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality since 2004, has worked to interpret, preserve, and expand understanding of the early African and African American history of Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia. The project's goal, in collaboration with the Shockoe Bottom Advocates Group, Preservation Virginia, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is to change the public history landscape of Richmond by helping to establish a nine-acre Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park footprint containing sites of the free and enslaved black life in the 18th century as well as the city’s role as the epicenter of the domestic slave trade in the 19th century. This park is now part of the city's urban planning strategy for Shockoe Bottom. Other research interests include the early American and African Atlantic world, historic preservation, land use, social justice, memory, and identity. Currently working at the American Civil War Museum, she has consulted on interpretive projects with The Valentine, curated an exhibit at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, and partnered with the Library of Virginia on “Truth & Conciliation in the 400th Year: A Public History Symposium.” in 2019. Edwards holds a B.A in visual arts from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona (1983) and an M.A. in history/public history (2020) from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Katherine Ridgway State Archaeological Conservator at Virginia Department of Historic Resources
After graduating from William and Mary, Katherine attended Durham University in Northern England where she received her master’s degree in the Conservation of Historic Objects. She then accepted a position as an Assistant Conservator at the Field Museum in Chicago. Five years later, she became the Fine and Decorative Arts Conservator for George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Since early 2013, she has been the State Archaeological Conservator at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources; working with professionals and the public around the Commonwealth to promote the preservation of the State’s rich cultural heritage and working to conserve the roughly 6 million artifacts that belong to Virginia.
Twitter: @VaDHR_SHPO

Karen Sherry, Ph.D. Curator of Museum Collections at Virginia Museum of History & Culture
Dr. Karen Sherry is a curator specializing in American history and material culture with 20 years of museum experience. Since 2017, she has served as a curator at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (Virginia Historical Society); previously, she held curatorial positions at the Portland Museum of Art (Maine, 2012–2015) and Brooklyn Museum (2005–2012). Sherry has published, lectured, and organized exhibitions on a range of topics related to American history and culture. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in art history from the University of Delaware, and a B.A. from Boston University.
Twitter: @virginiamuseum


RECORDED DATE: October 13, 2021

COST: $5 AASLH Members / $10 Nonmembers / Free for Full Access Annual Meeting attendees w/ Promo Code (email

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Recording Transcript

A transcript is provided with the recording.

Components visible upon registration.

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