As the state museum of natural history, the Virginia Museum of Natural History has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and transformational educational programs for all ages. With its statewide outreach education and distance learning programs, online resources, and traveling exhibits and displays, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is truly a Museum Without Walls.
Freedom of Information
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), § 2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording - regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format - that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Visit the link below to learn about the Virginia Museum of Natural History's Freedom of Information Act policy and how to make a request.
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 Virginia Association of Museums, the Southeastern Museums Conference, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and is accredited by the American Alliance 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 doctoral curators, focuses on studies of Invertebrate Paleontology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Recent Invertebrates, Archaeology, Mammalogy, 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.
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 and distance learning programs that bring the museum to locations across the Commonwealth, the museum's education programs are correlated directly to state and national learning standards. 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. These exhibits 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 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.