The VMHC offerings present fresh and accessible approaches to connecting the past and present
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture will premiere a number of innovative and immersive exhibitions and galleries in conjunction with the reopening of its building May 14.
The $30+ million renovation and expansion is the most extensive transformation in the institution’s nearly 200-year history. Among the marquee exhibitions are Our Commonwealth, a multisensory exploration through the five major regions of Virginia that features artifacts from cultural institutions throughout the state, and American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, a Smithsonian-organized exhibition that will dynamically bring the great American experiment of democracy to life.
All exhibitions are free with museum admission: $10 general admission; free for VMHC members; discounts for seniors, children and military/veterans.
The museum’s grand reopening events include member and supporter previews, followed by a full public opening celebration with live music, free admission and family activities the weekend of May 14 and 15.
“The VMHC’s new exhibitions, experiences and spaces are designed to welcome, inform and reflect our audiences, inviting participation and meaningful dialogue,” said VMHC President & CEO Jamie Bosket. “Bridging the past and present through multiple perspectives and compelling storytelling is key to fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose.”
The signature long-term exhibition Our Commonwealth will launch audiences on a memorable and scenic journey, with living murals — large-scale, changing digital projections — and custom soundscapes that will immerse them in the arts, culture, food, music, industry and people of each region. In a unique approach to exhibition development, it incorporates stories and objects from across Virginia, thanks to the robust regional partnerships that the VMHC developed with institutions around the state.
American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith will examine our government’s founding and the continuing story of America’s bold experiment in a government “of, by, and for the people.” Treasures of Virginia will feature a rotating display of extraordinary items related to individuals or events that shaped the identity of Virginia and the nation. Commonwealth Explorers offers a playful exploration space specifically designed for VMHC’s youngest visitors and their companions. History Matters is an introductory exhibition that speaks to the ways history connects us all. This gallery will feature selections from VMHC’s vast collection of 9 million items.
The Lettie Pate Evans Orientation Theater presents a 17-minute film to orient visitors to the full sweep of Virginia’s history, both natural and human, generating excitement to discover the details of that story throughout the museum spaces.
For full exhibition program details and registration links, please visit VirginiaHistory.org/Calendar. For all the details and information about becoming a member, please visit VirginiaHistory.org.
The VMHC is the only institution dedicated to presenting the entire history of Virginia, over time and across regions. Its nationally significant collection, renowned research library, galleries and public programs demonstrate the centrality of Virginia to the narrative of the United States.
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture is owned and operated by the Virginia Historical Society — a private, non-profit organization established in 1831. The historical society is the oldest cultural organization in Virginia, and one of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation.
This article includes several images of Renderings of VMHC Courtesy of Glavé & Holmes Architecture
VMHC Redesigned Main Entrance: A dramatic redesign to the main entrance of the VMHC from its parking lot, the museum campus will feature a prominent new guest entrance, vehicle drop-off circle and additional parking, a new green space/event plaza, a new second-floor event terrace, and new second floor multipurpose community/education meeting rooms.
VMHC New Great Hall (looking from the entrance): The VMHC’s expansive new Great Hall will be home to many of the museum’s large public programs, special events, and community gatherings. The Great Hall will house large objects from the museum’s collection and a new grand stairwell that leads guests to a second-floor orientation theater and access to expanded museum galleries and a renovated research library.
VMHC New Café: Working with a local partner, the VMHC will offer a new amenity for museum guests and the neighborhood. A beautiful new café will serve local coffee and grab-n-go food options as well as fine wines and local brews for a casual happy hour.