About Us

VMNH Vision PlanWhat will you discover?

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.

VMNH Mission
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. Along with the museum's permanent exhibitions, the current special exhibits Dinosaurs: Reign of the Giants and Stories from Skeletons 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.

Economic Impact
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.

  • 52 (33 full-time, 19 part-time) individuals are employed by VMNH.
  • $450,000 per year is spent on goods and services locally.
  • Over 30,000 people per year visit VMNH, including 57% from outside the local area who contribute over $312,000 in visitor spending.
  • Over 229,000 people experience VMNH traveling exhibits and displays statewide and beyond each year.
  • Over 1 million people are reached each year through website and social media outreach.
  • Over 10,000 students and families take part in education programs at the museum, with an additional 14,000 taking part in outreach programs statewide and beyond.

Rent the Museum
Education Program Guide