The Valentine First Freedom Center, located at the corner of S. 14th and E. Cary Streets in historic Shockoe Slip, houses 2,200 square feet of exhibits that delve into America’s experience of religious liberty from its European antecedents through today. A room for traveling exhibits and updatable modules allows flexibility to highlight historical as well as contemporary events. Physically connected to a Marriott Residence Inn, the exhibits enjoy access to meeting space for forums and conferences. Outside, a 27-foot spire, a limestone wall etched with the enacting paragraph of the Statute, and a 34-foot banner of a seminal Jefferson quote imprint the importance of the “first freedom” on all who come upon that busy corner.
Since 1994, and nationally since 2005, the Valentine First Freedom Center has challenged high school students to research, reflect upon, and argue key themes related to religious freedom. As many as 1,800 high school students per year submit written essays or video productions on assigned topics such as international religious freedom, religious minorities in America, and how religious liberty manifests in their schools.
The Valentine First Freedom Center, located on the corner of South 14th & Cary Streets, Richmond, VA 23219, is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, 12-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.