A traveling exhibit bringing the mystery surrounding bats out of dark is set to make its Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) debut on Saturday, February 10, when the museum unveils Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats. Through a variety of multi-sensory interactive displays, a Gothic castle, and environmentally lifelike settings, Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats dispels popular misconceptions about bats, describes their ecological importance, and gives visitors an appreciation of the true wonders of the bat world.
“The museum is excited to provide this unique exhibit experience to our visitors for the next 11 months,” said VMNH Deputy Director Ryan Barber. “As we considered which exhibits to display inside our special exhibit gallery, Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats stood out as an experience that we believe museum visitors will find relevant, distinctive, educational and entertaining.”
The touring exhibit, produced by Evergreen Exhibitions, allows visitors to discover the real world of bats as diverse, beneficial mammals with fascinating skills. For instance, visitors can try on a pair of sculpted bat ears to experience the sensitivity of bat hearing, or participate in a demonstration of echolocation in which visitors can use a joystick to maneuver a bat model in search of food using a laser to simulate sonar.
“One of the most exciting aspects of this exhibition is its combination of traditional museum exhibit elements, such as dioramas depicting the many hiding places of bats in various natural habitats, to more immersive experiences, such as allowing visitors to learn about the huge appetites of bats relative to their weight by weighing replica food sources in a balance scale,” said Barber. “There is even an activity station for our younger visitors, where they can create an art rubbing of their favorite bat species to take home.”
To celebrate the exhibit’s arrival, the museum is hosting an opening day celebration on Saturday, February 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to access to the special exhibit and all other museum exhibits, opening day features a variety of one-day-only offerings, including bat-themed crafts and activities for children, face painting, balloon art, special presentations by bat experts, and a bat specimen station highlighting items from the museum’s scientific collections.
“We’re really excited to bring this exhibit to our region and feel it deserves to be celebrated,” said VMNH Visitor Services and Events Manager Robbie Hendrix-Wirt. “If you’re looking for a fun adventure in the middle of winter, we’ve got you covered with our opening day celebration. Visitors will have access to the museum’s exhibits and special activities, as well as the Buckin’ Good Eats & Lemonade food truck, which will be on-site for visitors to grab lunch or a quick snack.”
General admission rates apply for the opening day celebration. Admission rates are $10 per adult and $5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60 and older, and college students. Admission is free for children under 3, museum members, and members of museums and science centers that participate in the ASTC Passport program.
The museum also participates in the Museums for All initiative, offering discounted admission to EBT cardholders. Through this program, and additional funding provided by Hooker Furnishings, Carter Bank & Trust, and the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia, visitors who present their EBT card and accompanying ID at the gate receive free admission to the museum. The free admission applies to the cardholder and up to 5 immediate family members living within the same household.
The exhibition of Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats at the Virginia Museum of Natural History is made possible by The Helen S. & Charles G. Patterson Jr. Charitable Foundation Trust, Bassett Furniture Industries, Monogram Foods Loves Kids Foundation, and Visit Martinsville.
Masters of the Night: The True Story of Bats will be on exhibit at the museum from February 10, 2024 through January 11, 2025.
For more information about the museum and its offerings, visit www.vmnh.net.