Introducing the reimagined Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Virginia Museum of History and CultureThe Virginia Museum of History & Culture will reopen in May after the largest and most transformative renovation in its nearly 200-year history.

Renewed and reinvigorated, the VMHC will provide a vastly expanded, welcoming and innovative museum experience for all visitors to engage with a common past and the stories that connect Virginians and Americans.

Through its nationally significant collection of over 9 million objects, its renowned research library, galleries and public programs, VMHC is committed to authentically serving and reflecting all Virginians and demonstrating the centrality of Virginia in the United States narrative.

Designed to engage, inform and inspire, the new museum recognizes that history is personal and that the most effective way to communicate is to ensure that all visitors see themselves at the museum – in its objects and its stories. VMHC seeks to open the minds of young and old, to offer different perspectives and to make connections between yesterday and today by presenting history from a new and accessible angle.

Almost two-thirds of VMHC’s 250,000 square foot building have been renovated and additions have been built upward, while the footprint has remained the same. This more than $ 30 million transformation allows for a large two-story entrance atrium; an immersive orientation theater; approximately 50% more exhibition space to accommodate an exciting mix of long-term and changing exhibitions; an entirely new research library; several spaces for community meetings and gatherings; a new campus connector between VMHC and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; a valued green space; and a new cafe and museum store, among other amenities.

“We look forward to sharing the remarkable product of this most transformative effort – celebrating the reimagining of your Virginia Museum of History & Culture this spring,” said Jamie Bosket, President and CEO of VMHC. “The VMHC is for everyone, and its range of new experiences, new exhibits and new spaces have all been carefully designed and produced to offer new and engaging ways to experience the past – to welcome all and reflect all Virginians. . “

The VMHC is the only institution dedicated to showcasing the full history of Virginia, over time and across regions. The institution is guided by the belief that forging relevant and meaningful connections between the past and the present is essential for fostering empathy, perspective, community and dialogue for all audiences today and for building a future for each other. beneficial. Its comprehensive and diverse collection of national treasures – including art and decorative arts, maps, music, manuscripts, photographs, family papers, military records, furniture, textiles and more – continues to enrich themselves through donations and acquisitions.

Along with its grand reopening, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will launch several new exhibitions and galleries that will present new approaches to understanding the distant and not-so-distant past. Our Commonwealth, a renowned long-term exhibition, is the centerpiece of the museum’s new offerings. It will provide in-depth multisensory exploration through the five main regions of Virginia, featuring stories and artifacts from partner organizations and cultural institutions across the state – a unique approach to exhibit development.

Our Commonwealth will launch audiences on a memorable and picturesque journey, through living murals – large-scale, ever-changing digital projections – and personalized soundscapes that will immerse them in the arts, culture, food, music, industry and the inhabitants of each region.

In preparation for Our Commonwealth, VMHC has invested in the development of strong regional partnerships with state institutions. These statewide partners include the Lynchburg Museum and the Fredericksburg Area Museum (Central Virginia); Office of Historic Alexandria and Manassas Museum (Northern Virginia); Shenandoah Valley Museum and Rockbridge Historical Society (Shenandoah Valley); Blue Ridge Institute and Museum and WKMA / Never the Same Museum (Southwest Virginia); and Historical Society Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Mariners’ Museum and Park (Tidewater Virginia).

These rich and inspiring collaborations have led to a better understanding of conservation and increased the depth of ties with the five regions of the state.

VMHC is also focused on long-term collections partnerships with the Black History Museum & Cultural Center in Virginia and the American Civil War Museum, both of which allow the museum to provide a more comprehensive overview of Virginia’s past. In addition, the museum is a key partner of educators statewide, enhancing the stories that can be told and complementing the curricula that are essential to the development of informed citizenship.

With history happening around us all the time, the VMHC is ideally placed to collect, preserve, analyze, and share it in a compelling and truthful way.

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture also recently established the Commonwealth History Fund, a unique way for the VMHC to support education and the preservation of history in communities across the state. Through this new grant program, VMHC will provide millions of dollars to empower history-focused organizations and activities, invest in under-represented history, and encourage greater state-wide collaboration. .

The Fund will provide nearly $ 400,000 per year in grants to organizations and history projects across the state, and up to $ 2,000,000 during its first five years of operation. The Fund was created primarily with generous funding from Dominion Energy.

In addition to Our Commonwealth, other exhibitions open in May include American democracy: a great leap of faith, an exhibit organized by the Smithsonian that will bring America’s great experience of democracy to life; Treasures of Virginia, which will feature remarkable artifacts associated with Virginians who through extraordinary leadership and creativity have worked to shape the future of our state and nation; Well done, Virginie!, a project that explores the alcohol making and consumption practices in Virginia through time; a new interactive learning space for the youngest guests of the museum; and History matters, an introductory exhibit that talks about how history connects us all.

There will also be a new screening in the orientation room Virginie: as far as you can imagine, a spectacular 17-minute film highlighting indelible moments and scenes from Virginia history that serves as an introduction to the reinvented museum.

In early 2022, the museum will release details of its major reopening 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.

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