Richmond Renaissance – Day 20 and Recap

Richmond Renaissance – Day 20 and Recap
Do we love Virginia?  Yes, we do!  Discovering the Love wagon in Ashland.
Do we love Virginia? Yes, we do! Discovering the Love wagon in Ashland.

While my 20 days in Richmond series is a bit of a departure from my regular organizing-themed posts, I hope you have enjoyed this portrait of a Virginia summer. Today, I will wrap up our journey and provide some highlights and a summary.

On Day 20, we revisited another of our favorite spots, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts but it wasn’t exactly a repeat because there was a new exhibit to enjoy.


Dorothy and Herbert Vogel were an ordinary couple in New York City. He was a postal worker and she a librarian. They loved the arts and they devoted one of their salaries to the purchase of art. They purchased numerous then-unknown artists in the 1960’s and 1970’s, focusing primarily on drawings as that was all that would fit in their small apartment. Herbert passed away in 2012 but the Vogels left an incredible art legacy. They have built one of the greatest collections of 20th-century art and inspired and supported numerous artists in the process. Their collection was so great that they were able to give 50 works to one art museum in each of the fifty states. This exhibit showcased the 50 works the VMFA received.

The most fascinating works in the collection were by minimalist artist Richard Tuttle. His works literally looked like one stroke of a pencil or one blob of paint on a piece of scratch paper. Tuttle’s works weren’t appreciated at first and the Vogel’s support of his work meant the world to him.

A Richard Tuttle line drawing.
A Richard Tuttle line drawing.
Richard Tuttle's thoughts on his patrons Herb and Dorothy Vogel.
Richard Tuttle’s thoughts on his patrons Herb and Dorothy Vogel.
Richard Tuttle watercolors.
Richard Tuttle watercolors.

I also loved this quote about Martin Johnson’s work, particularly the part about the human need to label everything.

Explanation for Martin Johnson's work.
Explanation for Martin Johnson’s work.

After we visited the exhibit, we randomly explored the museum. My son found greatest interest in lying on the floor and gazing out of the enormous glass windows. I found myself drawn to the curator descriptive signs for each artwork as much as I was to the art itself. The quotes and explanations on these signs gave me so much to think about.




Quote by Jean Olivier Hucleux who made paintings so realistic they looked like photographs.  I like the "erasure of the artist" language.
Quote by Jean Olivier Hucleux who made paintings so realistic they looked like photographs. I like the “erasure of the artist” language.



Reflecting on our 20 days in Richmond.
Reflecting on our 20 days in Richmond.

After our leisurely time in the museum we took a final picture ending our adventures and spent the afternoon enjoying our daughter’s camp final performance.

The last memory of our adventures in Richmond.
The last memory of our adventures in Richmond.

20 days in Richmond ended up being a summer camp for me as much as it was for the children. While I have seen so many neat things, there were two things that I ended up gaining from this experience that I did not expect.

1) I learned to get out of a routine. You would think that it is much harder to get into a routine but the reverse is actually the case. Humans are creatures of habit. We like to know exactly what is going to happen and when. When you take that away and allow yourself to be surprised moment to moment, it forces your brain to become more flexible and open your thinking.

2) I have learned to keep my eyes open and appreciate the little things around me. Now that I have thoroughly appreciated what Richmond has to offer, I find myself looking for new adventures in my own community here in Fredericksburg. My new awareness has allowed me to see possibilities that I have literally just been driving past. While at the local shopping center the other day, for example, I discovered a Civil War hiking path that has probably always been there but I am just now seeing. We hiked it with friends this week.

So, to quickly recap how we spent our time for 20 different days in Richmond, despite 100 degree heat and traveling with small children on a budget, here you go:

Day 1 – Confederate War Chapel and Hiking the Trail to Texas Beach
Day 2 – Virginia Historical Society and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Day 3 – Virginia Holocaust Museum and Maymont
Day 4 – Chimborazo Medical Museum and Virginia War Memorial
Day 5 – Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the “Pop Jet” fountains at Short Pump Town Center
Day 6 – Hiking the Virginia Slave Trail
Day 7 – Richmond Radio
Day 8 – Didgeridoo Concert at the Virginia Public Library and Three Lakes Nature Center and Aquarium/Park
Day 9 – Poe Museum and Great Shiplock Park/Canal Path
Day 10 – SPARC Performance at Dogwood Dell and Monument Hunting
Day 11 – Henrico: Crump Park/Meadow Farm, Courtney Road Service Station, Forest Lodge, Walkerton Tavern
Day 12 – Gaines’ Mill and Cold Harbor Battlefields
Day 13 – Beaverdam Creek Battlefield, Chickahominy Bluff, Armour House, Dabbs House
Day 14 – Henricus and Dutch Gap
Day 15 – Virginia Center for Architecture and Meadow Farm Museums
Day 16 – Ashland
Day 17 – Drewry’s Bluff and Fort Harrison battlefields
Day 18 – Malvern Hill Battlefield
Day 19 – Virginia Historical Society and Redskins Football Camp
Day 20 – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Of all these adventures, the only ones with admission charges were Henricus, the Poe Museum and the Wesselman exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. All the rest were free! Aside from occasional minor parking fees and two snacks, our only other expense was gas. For almost nothing in cost, we had a million dollar time.

I appreciate the comments I have received this month, particularly my loyal commenters Lou, Mir, Dia, Amy and Ruth!

Mir commented:

I am in awe of all the wonderful history you have taught me the past 3 weeks.

I had no idea I would be learning this much history either! I find history was much more interesting when I was walking the ground where the historical events occurred. It wasn’t just dry facts in a book. Even if there was not much left, seeing the same rivers that John Smith crossed and the creeks where thousands of Civil War soldiers died gave history a new relevance.

I am also glad to have found a new reader, Dawn, from Henrico County who lets us know that Henrico County is putting on plenty of Civil War 150th events starting in September 2014 (remember the Overland Campaign was in 1864) and that you can visit (website launching soon) for more information or

As my parting thought on my adventures in Virginia, I have created this one-page (double-sided) Ruly Free and Cheap Guide to Richmond, organizing most of the information I have learned into a tourist-friendly guide. I hope you download it and share it with others who may be interested.

Thanks for traveling with me! What a summer it has been!