Monday, March 10, 2014

Richmond Museums are in "Renovation Mode"!

Richmond's presentation of its past is getting a big bucks transformation. Museums and cultural sites across the city are moving into new places, creating spaces, restoring, reinterpreting and reshaping what they do. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which is within walking distance of Maury Place, underwent a transformative renovation a few years ago, and the museum was totally reborn. Other museums and sites are now following suit.

The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia will be renovating the Leigh Street Armory this spring following a $13 million capital campaign. The Valentine Richmond  History Center's $20 million campaign is in its final phases of construction. Even Richmond Region Tourism is planning a new visitor center adjacent to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by renovating the Robinson House next year. The new center will build on last year's record number of visitors, which was more than 7 million based on hotel tax collections. Attendance at museums on or near the Boulevard adds up to the highest visitation in the region.

The Science Museum of Virginia is installing a new NanoSeam screen and five digital projectors capable of projecting 3-D images across the expanse of the 76-foot dome. The Dome will reopen on March 15 with a showing of "Cosmic Expeditions," the museum's new astronomy program. Resolution will be 14 times better than a high def TV! The Science Museum is a short walk or drive from Maury Place.

New programming at the Virginia Historical Society, which is within walking distance of Maury Place, will include the first state-specific, crowd-sourced film of its kind, "Virginia Voices," as an adjunct to its new exhibit "The Story of Virginia." Producers of the film have been out in the field to capture the beauty of the state and its people for the production's debut this fall. Videos can be uploaded at The film project is part of a $38 million campaign at the VHS that includes $20 million for capital projects and $8 million for programs. Construction will include a more prominent main entrance, a pedestrian friendly green area on Boulevard, a new learning center with a separate entrance, and a redesigned exhibit area for "The Story of Virginia."

The Valentine Richmond History Center is undergoing a $20 million renovation that will include enlarging its gallery space and restoring the 1812 Wickham House and the studio of sculptor Edward Valentine. There will be a new education center, new history of Richmond galleries, and new community galleries.

The American Civil War Museum is planning a new building at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar's riverfront. The new orientation of the building will feature stunning views of the river and the riverfront property. The 45,000 square foot expansion will include major new exhibits, state of the art preservation of the collection, and an immersion theater that engages the emotions as well as the intellect. Opening is targeted for the fall of 2015.

So many exciting plans for Richmond's great museums!!

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument