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January 24, 2019

The Virginia Museum of Natural History has been awarded a $2,500 grant from the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, allowing the museum to provide free educational programming for public elementary schools in Danville and Pittsylvania County through the end of 2019.

"We're extremely grateful to the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region for providing such generous funding," said Ryan Barber, deputy director of the museum. "This gift will allow teachers in Danville and Pittsylvania County the opportunity to schedule a visit for their students to the Martinsville-based museum, where they can tour the exhibits and take part in a unique education program led by museum educators, or they can have museum educators visit their own classrooms as part of the museum's outreach education initiative."

The museum offers a wide variety of educational programs, focusing on areas such as the nature of science, physical sciences, life sciences, earth sciences, history and social studies, as well as art, math and engineering.

"With such a wide variety of topics that the museum is equipped to cover, teachers have many options to choose from, depending on their curriculum needs," said Christy Deatherage, education manager at the museum. "Not only do we have a variety of programs already developed for teachers to choose from, but we frequently work directly with teachers to tailor programs that fit their specific classroom needs."

With scientific research conducted by world-renowned curators in a variety of disciplines, such as paleontology, earth sciences, archaeology, mammalogy and invertebrate zoology, museum educators have the unique ability to incorporate specimens from the museum's scientific collections that students rarely - if ever - have an opportunity to experience.

"Many of the programs incorporate relevant material from our scientific collections, such as actual dinosaur fossils from the museum's paleontology collections or artifacts from the archaeology collections," said Deatherage. "We even include live animals into some programming. Being able to incorporate these unique resources allows the lessons to come to life in memorable and impactful ways for the students."

To schedule a visit or programming, teachers and administrators at public elementary schools in Danville and Pittsylvania County may contact the museum at 276-634-4185 or Free visits and programming for the 2019 calendar year will be offered for as long as funds remain available.

For more information about the museum and its educational programming, visit


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