As the state’s museum of natural history serving the entire Commonwealth and beyond, VMNH has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and innovative educational programs for all ages. With its outreach education programs, online resources, and traveling exhibits and displays, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is truly an institution without walls.
To interpret Virginia's natural heritage within a global context in ways that are relevant to all citizens of the Commonwealth.
Museum Memberships and Accreditation
VMNH is a member of the Southeastern Museums Conference and the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction earned by fewer than 5% of U.S. museums.
Research and Collections
VMNH has developed a strong reputation for significant research and important collections, which now number more than 10 million cataloged items. Research at VMNH, led by its four doctoral curators, focuses on studies of Invertebrate Paleontology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Recent Invertebrates, Archaeology, Mammalogy, Marine Science and Geology. While the museum’s primary geographic strengths are in Virginia and the Southeastern United States, the collections and research programs span the globe with programs in China, Peru, Brazil, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Russia and Tanzania.
The museum's innovative education programs reach students, teachers, and the general public statewide and throughout the region. From "at-the-museum" programs to outreach education programs that bring the museum to locations across the Commonwealth, the museum's education programs are correlated directly to the Virginia Standards of Learning and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. VMNH educators are leaders in the field of informal science education throughout the state, providing a vital link between the museum's important research and collections programs and all citizens of Virginia and beyond.
In addition to its important programs in research, collections, and education, the museum also features award-winning permanent and special exhibits both at the museum and through remote sites. Along with the museum's permanent exhibitions, the current special exhibits Dinosaurs, Dinosaur Discovery, and Documenting Diversity help to translate the museum's groundbreaking scientific research into easily understood language and concepts that supplement and highlight the Virginia Standards of Learning and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. From the permanent exhibit galleries Uncovering Virginia and How Nature Works to the new Hahn Hall of Biodiversity and the Fossil Overlook, the museum's exhibits connect visitors to the stories of Virginia's natural past, present and future.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History is a tremendous driver of economic growth locally, regionally, and statewide. In addition to the museum's measurable economic benefits, VMNH also improves the quality of life in the region, providing residents with exhibits, programs and events normally found in larger metropolitan areas. We employ 62 people.
- We spend over $450,000 per year on goods and services locally.
- We serve about 30,000 people per year through on-site visitation, including 52% from outside the local area.
- We reach over 250,000 people each year through traveling exhibits and displays.
- We reach over 1 million people each year through out Web site and social media outreach.
- We serve over 4,000 school children per year.