Tuesday, November 11, 2014

...tours, plans, and meeting with a local artist...

Halloween is never really over. Just a little over a week has passed and many of us are already considering Halloween 2015. 

This has been a somewhat hectic week already. Friday and Saturday included three cemetery tours and yesterday included an exciting meeting about next year’s proposed Halloween tour. These tours are all part of The Valentine, a museum that was opened on November 21, 1898 with a focus of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Richmond, VA.

The Valentines have a family plot in Hollywood Cemetery and I enjoy telling a bit of their story. Founder Mann S. Valentine Jr. made his fortune from the production of Valentine’s Meat Juice, a health tonic made from beef juice which reached its greatest success in 1881 when President Garfield said after being shot in an assassination attempt that he breakfasted on Valentine’s Meat Juice along with toast and a poached egg.
The museum has undergone an extensive renovation and tomorrow after a tour guide meeting, I will be able to tour the newly opened exhibits.

Yesterday’s meeting was with Richmond artist Noah Scalin who is often known for his Skull-A-Day art project. The project was a personal endeavor to create a skull every day for a year. He did! In 2008, Larks Books published a book which included 150 images of his work. This year (October 2014) Chop Suey Books published a new Skull-A-Day book featuring all 365 of his original skulls.
I actually met with Noah because I’m developing a Halloween History tour. While I plan to include the history of Halloween in the United States, I also want to include local traditions.  There is a section of The Fan in Richmond that goes all out during Halloween. Hanover Avenue has become known for its over-the-top decorations.  Talking to Noah, I learned about his personal experiences as a kid going to the street for trick-or-treating. Of course since we’re basically the same age, the discussion went to former alternative shops where we used to buy earrings (my favorite was a noose), local eats, and other hangouts. Perhaps Noah was even a bit of the inspiration for me finishing my terrarium project yesterday evening. 

Planning the tour is just another way to keep the spirit alive. As Dickens *should have written* I will honor Halloween in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.


  1. The tours sound great! Were you leading them?

    I'd like to meet Noah, I reckon he'd be really cool! The book would make a great Goth coffee table book! (Or is that Goffee table book)

    1. The plan is to go down Hanover Ave since it is the most highly decorated in Richmond. The street is in The Fan district of Richmond so I'll be mentioning the architecture in the area as well.

      Noah was a cool guy. Very laid back and friendly.

      Goffee table *snorts* Nice :D