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New $30M Expansion Ongoing at VA Museum of History & Culture

Fri December 18, 2020 - Northeast Edition
CEG


The VMHC has assembled a talented team to make the museum’s improvements, including Richmond architectural firm Glavé & Holmes, and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., based in Charlotte, N.C. (Virginia Museum of History & Culture rendering)
The VMHC has assembled a talented team to make the museum’s improvements, including Richmond architectural firm Glavé & Holmes, and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., based in Charlotte, N.C. (Virginia Museum of History & Culture rendering)

The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC), at 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond, closed to the public Dec. 14 for its $30 million expansion and renovation project. The museum plans to remain shuttered until early April.

The renovation will bring a new entrance and great hall to the VMHC as well as a new café with indoor and outdoor seating, a second-floor event terrace, a new immersive theater, exhibition spaces, a research library featuring a rare book and manuscript suite, and a bigger parking lot.

"Our work to reimagine your state history museum is gaining momentum by the day — running ahead of schedule in some areas," Jamie Bosket, president and CEO of the VMHC, said in a statement. "We are also mindful of surging COVID-19 cases regionally and dramatically-reduced visitation to the museum — both of which also informed our decision to move ahead more quickly with our work."

Online programming will continue at the museum, such as virtual gallery walks, talks with creators and educators, and the online shop will remain open.

The VHMC broke ground for the expansion in October. Several weeks later, the museum removed a large grove of 100-year magnolias lining Sheppard Street, to the dismay of some residents. But the museum said that the Southern magnolias were nearing the end of their typical lifespan of 80 to 120 years and plans to replace them with trees of the same variety. More than 40 will be planted next year.

The museum also is changing its layout, expanding the parking lot, and moving its green space from the center of the parking lot to an area adjacent to the museum. The new green space will have seating, lighting and landscaping and will feature a grand staircase leading up to the new second-story terrace.

The VMHC has assembled a talented team to make the museum's improvements, including Richmond architectural firm Glavé & Holmes, and the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., based in Charlotte, N.C.

The renovated museum will stay roughly the same size at 250,000 sq. ft., but it will have many new features including an immersive theater where the floor will be a screen and a new exhibit space called "Our Commonwealth," designed to be a companion to "The Story of Virginia" exhibit at the VHMC.

"Starting with our name change in 2018, we've been reinventing who we are and what we do," Bosket said in September when announcing the expansion project.

The museum began as a research library and study facility, but has changed over the years, especially in the last few decades, to become a museum to display Virginia's rich history.

"It's our goal to be a welcoming, community-centered cultural attraction — a place for all Virginians," Bosket said.




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