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March 27, 2007

Press Release: Martinsville Bulletin

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Virginia Museum of Natural History's 100-hour celebration for the opening of its new facility will start Wednesday and conclude on Sunday.

The launch of the museum's newly designed Web site is set for Wednesday, a press release from the museum said. That will be followed on Thursday with a member reception at the new facility on Starling Avenue to provide members with a first look at the museum.

Members will see The Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont Great Hall and the Mr. and Mrs. L. Dudley Walker Lecture Hall, along with the library, VMNH Store, New Moon Café and Hooker Furniture Theater, the first site in Virginia to feature CineMuse high-definition cinema, according to the release.

Members also will get a first look at state-of-the-art permanent exhibit galleries "Uncovering Virginia," "How Nature Works: Rocks" and "How Nature Works: Life."

The museum will hold a dedication ceremony for the facility on Friday, with state and local legislators on hand. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m., when a plaque will be unveiled announcing the opening of the facility, which coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

Following the dedication, the VMNH Foundation gala will be held from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in The Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont Great Hall, the Mr. and Mrs. L. Dudley Walker Lecture Hall, the special exhibit gallery and the Hooker Furniture Theater. More than 500 guests are expected to attend, the release said.

The museum opens to the public on Saturday. A Family Day will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and will feature activities and education programs for all ages.

The exhibits "Feathered Dinosaurs of China" and "Chinasaurs: The Great Dinosaurs of China," which were open at the VMNH Research and Collections Center at 1001 Douglas Ave., closed temporarily on Sunday to be moved to the new facility.

The exhibits will be displayed there from April 6 through June 17.

From June 30 through Jan. 18, 2008, an exhibit called "Beyond Jamestown: Virginia Indians Yesterday and Today" opens at the museum, highlighting the history, culture and contributions of Virginia's eight Indian tribes.

That exhibit will be part of the museum's role as a destination in the celebration of Jamestown's 400th anniversary.

As an official Virginia Statewide Partner for the Jamestown 2007 commemoration, VMNH will host several events to promote Jamestown 2007 programs. VMNH was selected as a statewide partner based on its ability to support and advance tourism, improve economic development opportunities and enhance educational awareness, the release said.

"I am very pleased that the Virginia Museum of Natural History is a Statewide Partner for Jamestown 2007," VMNH Executive Director Timothy J. Gette said in the release. "We are playing a leading role in celebrating America's 400th Anniversary, especially as we prepare for the March 31 Grand Opening of the new, world-class VMNH facility, a top Jamestown legacy project."

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