Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders will continue to receive free admission to the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) thanks to the renewal of a successful partnership between the museum and Martinsville-based Hooker Furnishings. The partnership allows for the museum to waive all admission fees for visitors who present their EBT card at the VMNH box office now through Spring 2024 as part of the Museums for All initiative led by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Prior to the partnership, EBT cardholders received reduced museum admission fees of $2 per adult and $1 per child.
“Since Hooker Furnishings began supporting the museum’s participation in the Museums for All initiative in March 2021, over 3,000 EBT cardholders and their immediate family members have been able to take advantage of free admission to VMNH,” said VMNH Deputy Director Ryan Barber. “It’s an ideal partnership that plays a pivotal role in the museum’s efforts to become more accessible for all visitors of all ages.”
To receive free admission, EBT cardholders from any state must simply present their EBT card and accompanying identification at the museum box office upon arrival. Free admission will be granted to the cardholder and the cardholder’s immediate family members living within the same household, with a limit of 5 individuals total.
Hooker Furnishings’ support of VMNH dates back to June 1995, when the company became a corporate member of the museum. Since then, the company has supported the museum in various ways, ranging from providing in-kind luxury furniture items for the VMNH Foundation’s “Grapes and Grains” silent auction fundraiser, to providing a $100,000 gift for the development of the museum’s Hooker Furniture Theater, which debuted in Spring 2007 and has since been transformed to become the Hooker Furniture Discovery Reef, a hands-on, interactive play and discovery area for children.
“Hooker Furnishings is proud to continue a partnership with VMNH that began over 25 years ago,” said Jeremy R. Hoff, Chief Executive Officer. “This partnership is an integral part of our Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) efforts. We believe helping to educate the next generation is an important part of our environmental stewardship responsibilities and VMNH is the perfect vehicle to do that through its research and interpretation of our natural history. Additionally, helping to remove barriers to STEM-based educational opportunities to under-served populations is a critical step forward socially,” Hoff concluded.
Hooker Furnishings is in the process of adopting a broader set of policies and practices addressing environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and ethics and governance that it believes will create long-term value for its shareholders, while investing in its associates and communities and positively impacting the environment. The Company is actively working to expand and refine its ESG initiatives based on current best practices, shareholder expectations and regulatory developments.
In addition to the support of Hooker Furnishings, the museum’s participation in the Museums for All initiative is supported by community partner Carter Bank & Trust.
“VMNH’s participation in the Museums for All initiative is an inspiring success story of corporations, businesses and government entities jointly supporting a program that aims to help make museums accessible to everyone,” said Barber. “We’re not only incredibly thankful for the support of Hooker Furnishings and Carter Bank & Trust, but we’re truly proud of our continued partnerships with these two entities.”
“At Carter Bank we want to provide opportunities for people and businesses to prosper, which is why we’ve long supported the Virginia Museum of Natural History,” Bank President Brad Langs said. “We’re fortunate to have the museum here in Martinsville and want to ensure economic factors don’t prohibit anyone from being able to visit and enjoy the benefits.”
Currently, the museum is open to visitors Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from Noon to 4 p.m. The museum is open on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend and closed all other Sundays.
Regular museum admission is $10 for ages 18-59 and $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students. VMNH Members and children under 3 receive free admission.
For more information about the museum, visit www.vmnh.net.
The museum’s current special exhibit is Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas, which will be exhibited through January 20. The exhibit reveals a vivid picture of what living, breathing dinosaurs were really like by exploring how current thinking about dinosaur biology has changed over the past two decades. The exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The Field Museum, Chicago; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.