About Our Capital Improvements

About Our Capital Improvements

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A rendering of the new guest entrance to the museum

The renewed museum complex of nearly 250,000 square feet will include multiple new exhibitions spaces 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 multiple new education/meeting rooms; a new café, museum store and other amenities; 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.

Originally planned for 2022 as part of our ambitious, multi-year strategic plan, these extensive capital improvements were expedited as part of the VMHC’s strategy to sustain through the current health and financial crisis. Overlapping the planned and subsidized disruption of renovation with the uncontrollable and unplanned challenge of COVID-19 will help us in the present and certainly in the future as we reopen – renewed as an organization to a renewed world eager to reconnect. This is also one way the VMHC can contribute to community sustainability and recovery during the ongoing pandemic – by engaging dozens of regional businesses in this expansive project.

Construction will be completed in early 2022, with a grand re-opening slated for that spring. Portions of the museum will remain open throughout most of the renovation, and the VMHC’s extensive digital outreach effects will continue without interruption, including virtual programs (lectures, tours, gallery walks, webinars), and educational resources for students, parents, and educators.

Project Timeline:

• Construction — Fall 2020 to Spring 2022
• Grand Opening Celebration — Spring 2022

About Our Partners

To complete these improvements, the VMHC has assembled a talented team, including Richmond architectural firm Glavé & Holmes and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. For programmatic work, the VMHC is partnering with Virginia-based PRD Group for exhibition planning and design. PRD is an award-winning firm that’s work has been featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, the United State Botanical Garden, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and several impressive state history museums. The VMHC will also work with Donna Lawrence Productions to produce new media experiences, including a feature film for its new immersive orientation theater. Donna Lawrence is the award-winning producer of film experiences at the National Constitution Center, Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum, Museum of the American Revolution, New York Historical Society, and Walt Disney World. 

Donate Now   Press Release   Campaign Brochure

See Renderings of our Extensive Renovation and Expansion Plan:

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The complete redesign to the main entrance of the museum features a second-floor event terrace, new meeting rooms, a prominent guest entrance, vehicle drop-off and new green space/event place.
A Redesigned Main Entrance

The complete redesign to the main entrance of the museum features a second-floor event terrace, new meeting rooms, a prominent guest entrance, vehicle drop-off and new green space/event place. 

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A Dramatic New Great Hall & Event Space (view looking towards guest entrance)
A Dramatic New Great Hall & Event Space

A new Great Hall provides a grand space for museum activities and access to new guest amenities, including a new gift shop and café (view looking towards guest entrance).

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New Immersive Orientation Theater
New Immersive Orientation Theater

A new immersive orientation theater will welcome guests and provide an introduction to the unparalleled story of Virginia.

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New Visitor-Centered Entrance to Museum Galleries
New Visitor-Centered Entrance to Museum Galleries

A new visitor-centered entry to museum galleries, with a similar look and feel extended throughout the galleries, will provide more welcoming spaces for guests to engage with Virginia history.

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New Halsey Family Hall
New Halsey Family Hall

This renovated lecture hall will be home for large meetings and events at the museum, including rental opportunities for seated dinners, meetings, receptions, and community gatherings.

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New Library Reading Room
New Library Reading Room

A new home for Virginia history research, the renovated library reading room will provide access to a new Rare Book & Manuscript Suite as well as a new publications office.

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New Rare Book & Manuscript Suite and Study Room
New Rare Book & Manuscript Suite and Study Room

A state-of-the-art rare book & manuscript vault and study room will have specially designed security and fire protection.

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New Café and Community Gathering Place
New Café and Community Gathering Place

A new café and community gathering place will provide an important new amenity for museum guests. The café will feature indoor and outdoor seating.

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A rendering of the inside of a meeting room shows long tables arranged in a rectangle with chairs along the outside.
New Multipurpose Education Rooms

Four new multipurpose education rooms will be appointed with state-of-the-art technology.

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.