September 21, 2022
The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) has received a $25,000 grant from the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust in support of the 2022-23 Virginia Museum of Natural History Science Outreach Initiative.
Through the initiative, the museum will implement a series of high impact festivals and exhibits that provide engaging and educational science-based experiences for regional, statewide and national audiences. The museum's festivals and exhibits aim to introduce diverse audiences to vital STEM-based topics that prioritize science education through immersive and entertaining experiences. Festivals and exhibits that are part of the initiative include:
Bonez & Booz Festival
On Saturday, October 29, 2022, the museum will host its first-ever Bonez & Booz festival, merging science with fantasy. The event will include special bone and fossil displays presented by museum scientists, along with Halloween-themed entertainment offerings ranging from fire performances to magic shows.
On April 21 and 22, 2023, the museum will offer a special event focusing on the reptile life that resides in Virginia and beyond. The event will feature numerous live animals, specimens from the museum's scientific collections, and will serve as a celebration of the museum's upcoming herpetology research program that is set to launch in Fall 2022.
The museum's annual 2-day dinosaur extravaganza will take place July 21 and 22, 2023 and will feature life size-cast skeletons of some of the most iconic dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, a wide variety of dinosaur fossils presented by renowned paleontologists, as well as dinosaur-themed activities and crafts led by museum educators.
Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas
From February 11, 2023 through January 20, 2024, the museum will host an immersive traveling exhibit curated by the American Museum of Natural History that showcases the world of modern paleontology. The exhibit provides a dynamic vision of dinosaurs and the scientists who study them, while exhibiting how advanced technologies allow scientists to look at fossils in fresh ways.
"The Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust has once again provided the museum with tremendous support that is vital in allowing the museum to offer exceptional science programming and exhibits that will provide a direct benefit to VMNH Members and the general public," said VMNH Deputy Director Ryan Barber. "We are greatly appreciative of the foundation's continued support of the museum."
The Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust has been a long-time supporter of the museum, including supporting the museum's first Science Outreach Initiative that was introduced in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. That initiative was designed to develop and deliver a library of STEM-based virtual programming tailored to students and school groups throughout the 2020-21 school year, as well as provide additional science-based, virtual programming for children, adults and families.
"The Virtual Outreach Initiative was crucial in allowing the museum to remain connected with audiences throughout Virginia and beyond during the pandemic," said Barber. "As the museum reopened its doors, the foundation graciously continued its support by providing funding the following year for the 2021-22 Science Outreach Initiative. Having the foundation's support again this year is a testament to its commitment to science education and the museum's ability to offer high quality science programming."
*Image from the 2022 Dino Festival at the museum.