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October 31, 2013

School teachers now have the opportunity to bring their students to the Virginia Museum of Natural History at no cost as part of the museum's new student scholarship program. The scholarships provide entire classes free access to guided exhibit tours and SOL-based educational programming led by museum educators. The scholarships can also be used to take advantage of the museum's outreach education initiative, which allows museum educators to provide fun, educational programming inside the schools. Funding for the scholarships is made possible by the Charity League of Martinsville and Henry County, the Hermes Foundation, and through private donations made to the museum's Discovery Fund.

"The museum has a lot to offer students that goes well beyond just exhibits," said Dr. Denny Casey, director of education and public programs. "We also have scientists conducting world-class research and a staff of certified educators who provide SOL-based programming to school groups at the museum and through our outreach initiative. It's always been our priority to offer these programs to as many students and our ability to provide scholarships now will go a long way in allowing us to have a meaningful impact on a much larger audience."

The museum currently offers over 70 SOL-based programs for grade school students and alternative programming for younger children. Many programs are geared toward STEM education, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math. Each program can also be tailored to fit the needs of individual classes. The museum's 2013-14 Education Program Guide, which provides a complete list of SOL-based programs and other educational opportunities offered by the museum, is available for download from the museum's Web site at www.vmnh.net/educator-resources.

Teachers and educators interested in taking advantage of the scholarship program are encouraged to contact the museum at 276-634-4185 or discover@vmnh.virginia.gov to learn more.  The scholarships are based on a first-come, first served basis, as well as on need.

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