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Discovery Fund

Thank you for your support of the VMNH Foundation Discovery Fund in 2016-2017! 

Your support of the Virginia Museum of Natural History will help us expand science education and research statewide and beyond during the coming year!  We have several important anniversaries, milestones, and unveilings scheduled in the coming months.  To celebrate these exciting activities, we are commemorating 2017 as The Year of DiscoveryWith your support, VMNH scientists and educators will continue to make new scientific discoveries and reach learners of all ages through transformative exhibits and education programs.

Discovery Fund Giving Levels
Species: $1 - $40
Genus: $41 - $100
Family: $101 - $250
Order: $251 - $500
Class: $501 - $1,000
Phylum: $1,001 - $5,000
Kingdom: $5,000+

Your tax-deductible Discovery Fund contribution supports:

  • Globally significant research – Thanks to you, VMNH scientists and colleagues conducted the Great Wyoming Dinosaur Dig in Summer 2016, uncovering dinosaur fossils that are now being prepped for further study and display in the Elster Foundation Vertebrate Paleontology Lab at VMNH.
  • Exhibits at the museum and at sites statewide and beyond – Along with new displays throughout the museum, we will unveil our new Stegosaurus skeleton, formerly on display at the Smithsonian, at the Dino Day festival July 21-22, 2017. This iconic dinosaur will celebrate its 100th year on display, having first greeted visitors at the Smithsonian in 1917.
  • Hands-on education programs – Together with “at-the-museum” and outreach programs, you enable us to reach students across the Commonwealth through the Distance Learning program.
  • Thomas Jefferson Awards – Your support will enable us to honor individuals and organizations in Virginia at the 30th annual Thomas Jefferson Awards, March 16, 2017 at VMNH.

Your donation of any amount is always appreciated.  To learn more about how you can support VMNH, please contact us at information@vmnh.virginia.gov or 276-634-4163. 


Joe B. Keiper, Ph.D., Executive Director
Ryan L. Barber, CFRE, Deputy Director

Recent accomplishments and goals for the coming year
These programs and initiatives are made possible with your support – Thank you!

Recent accomplishments

  • Publication of The Geology of Virginia - First synopsis of the Commonwealth’s geological resources in over a century.
  • Updates of our permanent exhibits - Many areas have received new specimens and artifacts, including Ice Age, Hahn Hall, How Nature Works, Lobby, Rock Garden.
  • Record setting Dino Day Festival - More than 2,000 in attendance at the Dino Day festival on January 23, 2016.
  • Launch of new and growth of existing science-based programming - Including Youth Curator Camp, Adult Curator Camp, hosting of Lynchburg Residential Governor’s School, hosting of the annual meeting of the Southeast Association for Vertebrate Paleontology.
  • Success of the Great Wyoming Dinosaur Dig - In collaboration with Lynchburg College, 18 field jackets representing a large sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) were recovered.

Goals for the coming year:

  • Continued update of the visitor experience - Many new specimens and artifacts are added to exhibits on a regular basis.
  • Reconstruction of a baby mastodon - A rare baby mastodon skull has been cast and molded to begin the process of recreating what the entire skeleton looked like.
  • Display of a Triceratops horn with T. rex bite marks - This represents the only evidence that definitively shows that Triceratops and rex squared off in life-and-death encounters.
  • Continue to project VMNH as a state-wide resource for all - From distance learning programming, to establishment of exhibits at other facilities, to pursuit of a satellite campus, we will continue to grow the capacity of VMNH.
  • We will reach a diversity of audiences - We will be an asset for the students and teachers of Martinsville/Henry County, and any other school system
    that desires strong, science SOL-based content and inquiry-based learning experiences.

Year of DiscoveryCelebration of The Year of Discovery throughout 2017:

  • 10 years in our current facility
  • 10th anniversary gala (Grapes & Grains) – April 29, 2017
  • 30th Annual Thomas Jefferson Awards – March 16, 2017
  • 100th anniversary on display for the Stegosaurus donated from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (to be unveiled as part of Dino Day, July 21-22, 2017). This iconic exhibit was first put on display at the Smithsonian in 1917, and was only the 2nd Stegosaurus on display in the world.
  • In 2018 we will celebrate 30 years as a state agency.

For more information about upcoming events, festivals and programs, please visit the museum calendar.