What do you know about the Lost Cause? The Valentine wants to know. The city’s oldest museum is seeking community input about how to reinterpret Edward Valentine’s sculpture studio, where many iconic Confederate artworks were created — including the Jefferson Davis statue, which protesters toppled from its Monument Avenue pedestal in June. If its transfer is approved by Richmond City Council, the space also would house the damaged and paint-splattered Davis statue. “We recognize that it is our duty as the city’s history museum to tell even the most painful Richmond stories candidly and within the appropriate context,” Director Bill Martin said in a statement. “With or without the Davis statue, this reinterpretation of the Valentine Studio will finally illuminate the damage the Lost Cause mythology has caused in our city and our region, not just following the Civil War, but up through the 21st century.” To take the 18-question survey, go to: https://thevalentine.org/exhibition/the-valentine-studio-project/
Health care workers and first responders have served selflessly during the global coronavirus pandemic. So we were happy to hear that they can receive free admission to the must-see “Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, courtesy of Gov. Ralph Northam and the VMFA. This includes 911 dispatchers, law enforcement officers, professional and volunteer firefighters, professional and volunteer emergency medical services personnel, emergency management professionals, search and rescue teams, rescue pilots and divers, the Virginia National Guard and members of other organizations in the public safety sector. “Our health care workers and first responders have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy over the past seven months,” Northam said in a statement. “We are extending this well-deserved ‘thank you’ from the commonwealth and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and hope those who continue to serve Virginia so ably can experience this special exhibition.” The exhibit, which is on view through Jan. 18, includes nearly 300 objects, 250 of which were recovered from the underwater excavations of the ancient Egyptian cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion. To find out more, visit: https://www.vmfa.museum
What’s the most expensive ZIP code in Virginia? McLean’s 22101, located in Fairfax County. There, the median home price comes in at nearly $1.2 million. That compares to the state median home price of $296,784, according to Construction Coverage: “Despite widespread economic declines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market has remained surprisingly strong, with record-setting increases in existing home sales in every region of the United States.” California is home to seven of the 10 most expensive ZIP codes in the country, including those in Atherton and Beverly Hills, where median home prices exceed $6.4 million and $5 million, respectively. On the East Coast, Sagaponack, N.Y. (median home price: $4.8 million) and Boston, Mass. (median home price: $3.8 million) also top the list.
And who knows how many baby boomers own those homes. But consider this: While baby boomers consist of almost 23% of the population in Virginia, they account for nearly 42% of homeowners. That number is consistent with national figures for homes owned by people between the ages of 55 and 74, according to Construction Coverage. Aspiring younger, first-time homeowners are facing an uphill battle in part because baby boomers aren’t moving. A 2018 survey conducted by AARP found that 76% of Americans over the age of 50 “would prefer to remain in their current home — rather than move in with family, to a nursing home or to an assisted living facility — which is leading to less inventory for new buyers.” And we’ll see how this continues to play out amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For those of us who wear glasses, the biggest challenge of wearing a face mask is fighting the fog that clouds your lenses. But according to two doctors writing in the medical journal Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, there’s a simple fix. First, wash your hands with soap and water. Scrub for 20 seconds — or two rounds of “Happy Birthday” before rinsing. Then, wet your glasses and lather soap on the lenses. Be gentle and thorough. Next, rinse your glasses under warm water, making sure not to leave soap suds on your lenses. Finally, gently dry your glasses with a soft, clean towel. Don a mask and voila — it works. No more fog obscuring your vision.
— Pamela Stallsmith