The Virginia Museum of Natural History was awarded a $20,000 grant from the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr., Charitable Foundation Trust for the 2019-2020 “Science Festivals Initiative.”  This program includes a series of themed family festivals in the coming year, building on the original Educational Festival Initiative launched in 2017.  Each festival will include hands-on, educational experiences for students, families and visitors of all ages.

“We are grateful to the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr., Charitable Foundation Trust for their generous support of the museum’s science festivals,” said Ryan L. Barber, deputy director of VMNH. “Thanks to this grant, along with the support of our many members and donors, we will be able to reach thousands of students and families across the region through these one-of-a-kind programs.”

Festivals that will be part of this initiative include the Dragon Festival on Oct. 19, 2019, the Ice Age Festival on January 25, 2020, the Reptile Festival June 12 and 13, 2020, and the Dino Festival July 24 and 25, 2020.

In addition to these public events, the museum will host school groups on the Fridays before the Dragon Festival and Ice Age Festival, providing 300 area K-5 students with STEM-based educational experiences at each festival.

“The museum’s science festivals have become a staple of our public programming in recent years and have allowed us to reach thousands of people with immersive learning experiences that are truly unique,” said Dr. Joe Keiper, executive director of the museum.  “The high quality level of these events wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners, such as the Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr., Charitable Foundation Trust.”

The Helen S. and Charles G. Patterson, Jr., Charitable Foundation Trust was established in 1997 through the generosity of the late Charles G. Patterson, Jr. and his wife, Helen S. Patterson.

For more information about the museum and its research, education and exhibits programs, visit www.vmnh.net or email information@vmnh.virginia.gov.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend, the museum is open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed all other Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $7 for ages 19-59; $5 for children and youth ages 3-18, seniors 60+ and college students; members and children under 3 receive free admission.