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Va. history museum in home stretch of major renovation

Va. history museum in home stretch of major renovation

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The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) in Richmond soon will complete the most extensive and transformative renovation in its nearly 200-year history.

The museum, operated by the Virginia Historical Society, has remained open in a limited capacity for most of the construction, which began in October 2020, but will close from Jan. 1 through the public re-opening on May 14.

This closure will allow for the final phase of construction, the installation of numerous new exhibitions and museum experiences, and the activation of new guest amenities, including a new store and café.

“Construction teams have done a wonderful job of creatively managing timelines and phases, allowing us to keep many of our galleries accessible to date, but we have come to the point in the project when we need to provide them and our staff unfettered access to the entire complex so that we can unveil this dramatically revamped, welcoming, and innovative museum experience for all visitors,” said museum president and CEO Jamie Bosket.


The renovated museum complex of nearly 250,000 square feet will include multiple new exhibitions spaces for permanent and rotating exhibitions; a new immersive-orientation theater; a new interactive learning space for families; a new research library with a state-of-the-art suite for rare books and manuscripts; and multiple new education/meeting rooms.

The facility also will have a new café, museum store and other amenities; and multiple new and renewed community and event spaces, including a new great hall, a second-floor event terrace, an outdoor-event lawn, an expanded parking lot and an improved campus connector with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

This $30-million-plus project is the capstone of various expansions and improvements at the museum over the past two decades. Guided by the museum’s strategic plan, the changes are intended to reinvent the museum as it looks ahead to its third century of operation and the nation’s 250th anniversary.

While galleries will be closed for daily visitation, the museum will continue to host a limited number of in-person events and a slate of virtual programs for both members and the general public. More information can be found at VirginiaHistory.org/Calendar.

In early 2022, the museum will release details of its grand re-opening plans, which will include a series of preview events in early May followed by a full public opening celebration with live music, free admission and family activities the weekend of May 14 and 15.

The Virginia Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization established in 1831. The historical society, which is the oldest cultural organization in Virginia, cares for a collection of nearly 9 million items representing the ever-evolving story of Virginia.

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