History Matters Campaign

History Matters Campaign

A photo of cheering crowds in front of the museum. White text overlaid on the image reads: History Matters Campaign - The Story of Virginia for All Virginians

Reimagining Your Virginia Museum of History & Culture

Our Inspiration: The Story of Virginia for all Virginians
As the oldest cultural organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of the largest and finest history collections in the nation, we take pride in saving and sharing the remarkable story of Virginia. We believe in the unparalleled role history plays in creating a strong, healthy, and inspired society. We also believe that no place or group of people has been more essential to the formation and evolution of our nation than Virginia. It has been at the epicenter of the American experience—a story that must be told. 


As we approach our institution’s 200th anniversary and prepare for the 250th anniversary of our nation, we stand at a turning point. As generations pass and our narrative grows, we must ensure that the past is not forgotten. We must be more engaging, inclusive, and inspiring to encourage and empower the history makers of both today and tomorrow. We must boldly reinvent ourselves to connect more meaningfully with our community and our Commonwealth.

We stand ready to create an entirely new and compelling museum experience that allows us to be the history museum Virginia needs and Virginians deserve.  The work we do together matters; history matters.  Please join us in our progress! 

Our Moment
Our recent work to expand and renew our programming has resulted in a dramatic growth in awareness and attendance. Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, we were setting records with the highest and most diverse visitation ever in our history, the most programming ever offered, the greatest media exposure, and some of our greatest advances toward financial sustainability. We can do that again and for years to come.

After a comprehensive planning process that resulted in a new strategic plan unanimously and enthusiastically adopted by the museum’s Board of Trustees, the VMHC has initiated a fundraising and capital improvements plan to ready the institution for its third century of work on behalf of the Commonwealth. In many ways, this campaign is a capstone, completing work begun over the past two decades, and marking a significant evolution for the VMHC from a private research library into a vibrant state history museum befitting of Virginia and this moment. This finale campaign will support new capital improvements, programs, projects, and workforce effectiveness.

Renderings of the new Great Hall, Research Library, and Welcome Gallery

Our Plan
We aspire to raise $35 million, with approximately two-thirds invested in capital improvements and a third invested in programmatic funds and mission endowment. With more than 85% already committed, success is in sight and will be achieved with the collective generosity of supporters like you. In fact, as one of only three state history museums in the nation that does not receive state operating support, the VMHC has always succeeded with the thoughtful support of its vast membership and history lovers everywhere!

With focus on promoting learning and enjoyment through a best-in-class guest experience – one that is more welcoming and reflective of all Virginians – this comprehensive renovation will fundamentally reimagine the VMHC.  The museum will have significantly more space for long-term and changing exhibitions, a new immersive orientation theater, a new interactive learning space for families, a new research library with a state-of-the-art rare book and manuscript suite, and a new education and conference center. Additional guest services will include a new café, museum store, and multiple new and renewed community and event spaces, including a new great hall, a second-floor event terrace, an outdoor event lawn, an expanded parking lot, and an improved VMFA campus connector.

Our Future
Our future is bright! With your help we will:

  • Ready our institution, its infrastructure and programming, to begin its third century of service on behalf of the Commonwealth
  • Grow museum attendance by 25%+, and expand the length of a guest’s visit by 50%
  • Provide 50% more educational programming across the Commonwealth
  • Create relevant and meaningful exhibitions and activities that spark conversation, promote awareness, and reflect all Virginians
  • Strategically grow our collections to reflect the vastness of Virginia’s history and make them more accessible onsite and at a distance
  • Increase research library use by 25%

Donate Now   Press Release   Campaign Brochure

See an Overview of our Extensive Renovation and Expansion Plan:

History Matters Campaign Naming Opportunities

To learn more about special naming opportunities, please contact Anna von Gehr, Vice President for Advancement, at avongehr@VirginiaHistory.org or 804.814.6183.