VMNH nominated for prestigious award

An Allosaurus cast skeleton inside the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Harvest Foundation Hall of Ancient Life. (Contributed photos)

The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) has recently been nominated by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Alexandria, for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award, presented by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), is the nation’s highest honor for institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities.

Museum Research Technician Liberty Hightower performing research inside the museum’s Invertebrate Zoology lab.

“It’s an honor and a privilege for the museum to be nominated for this prestigious award and we are greatly appreciative of Senator Warner’s acknowledgement of the hard work that museum leadership, staff and supporters contribute to ensure that the museum delivers world-class, science-based research and STEM education to Virginians, both in our local community and throughout the entire Commonwealth.” said Dr. Thomas Benzing, chairman of the Virginia Museum of Natural History Board of Trustees.

The National Medals program recognizes outstanding libraries and museums of all types and sizes that deeply impact their communities by:

*fostering a lifelong passion for learning for all people, nourishing curiosity and imagination from early childhood through adulthood, for people of all abilities and needs;

A taxidermy lion mount inside the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s How Nature Works exhibit gallery.

*providing access to information through advancing digital capacity, focusing on digital inclusion and access to digital and informational resources, including e-books and materials to help address workforce development and public health;

*transforming the lives of community members by being trusted community spaces for convening, connection, and conversation; enlightenment and shared thoughts and opinions; and preserving natural and cultural heritage and community memory;

*continuing to engage their communities during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic and enhanced focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, through providing information, programming, and services virtually, or taking innovative and imaginative steps toward continuing services and reopening their physical spaces.

Museum Educator Terri Robertson performs a distance learning program for homeschool students from inside the museum’s Uncovering Virginia exhibit.

“The museum’s location in south central Virginia allows us to conduct unique research on the Commonwealth’s natural and cultural heritage, and provide science education for many underserved communities,” said Dr. Joe Keiper, executive director of the museum. “We also take great pride in following through with our mantra of being ‘A Museum Without Walls’ and delivering lifelong learning opportunities and educational resources to all citizens of the Commonwealth through distance learning programming, traveling exhibits and outreach education. We thank Senator Warner for recognizing the museum’s efforts in such a meaningful way.”

Due to Covid-19, the museum is currently open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on all other days, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. General admission is $10 for ages 18-59; $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, seniors 60+ and college students; members and children under 3 receive free admission. Visit www.vmnh.net to learn more.

For more information about the Virginia Museum of Natural History, visit www.vmnh.net.








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