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Experience some of Virginia’s best cultural, historic, and natural attractions online at home

While people are staying at home, Virginia museums, wildlife centers, theaters, and other tourism destinations are providing online educational opportunities to keep everyone learning. From interactive classes to puzzles and games to streaming services, here are some fun ways to virtually educate and entertain while social distancing.

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While people are staying at home, Virginia museums, wildlife centers, theaters, and other tourism destinations are providing online educational opportunities to keep everyone learning. From interactive classes to puzzles and games to streaming services, here are some fun ways to virtually educate and entertain while social distancing.

Educational Experiences with Museums and Historic Sites

  • Virginia residents and history lovers can access 400 years of Virginia history through the Virginia History Trails mobile app. Curated by the Library of Virginia and Virginia Humanities, the app contains more than 400 stories and more than 200 historic places. Users can immerse themselves in a themed trail that winds across the Commonwealth or employ the app’s GPS feature to find nearby historical sites and immediately transform their surroundings into a live history experience.
  • Colonial Williamsburg offers learners and other enthusiasts a new way to experience America’s shared story at home with the introduction of the Colonial Williamsburg streaming channel. The free new channel can be found in the “Educational” category on Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV, and offers a growing library of curated video content from the past and present in one easy-to-view location
  • Alexandria’s Carlyle House hosts “Discovery Through Trash” videos on its social media channels. Each video will reveal fragments of a centuries-old artifact found in the house’s trash pit. Viewers can try to guess the whole artifact, then be surprised as a box is lifted to reveal the object in its entirety.
  • The Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is enhancing revolutionary history with interactive digital learning experiences like the Legacy Wall and the “How Revolutionary Are You?” quiz.

Discover Wildlife, Natural Wonders and Gardens From Home

  • The Virginia Zoo’s Augmented Reality Tour gives curious animal lovers the inside scoop with a virtual tour featuring 12 stops around the Zoo. The tour educates virtual visitors about the Zoo’s animal residents, conservation efforts for the species, provides behind-the-scenes videos and more.
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers virtual visits and audio tours, online learning and activities for kids, recipes from the Garden Cafe and resources for families to learn about gardening at home.
  • Air and Space Anywhere offers videos and interactive activities for distance engagement with the Museum for virtual visitors of all ages, including the AirSpace podcast, virtual tours of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, activities and games, 3D exploration of artifacts, pioneer stories and more.
  • The Science Museum of Virginia offers videos that teach about science words, the recipe for planetary habitability and more. Their “Experimental Musings” blog covers multiple STEM topics from the Keto diet to seasonal allergies for pets.

Virtual Activities for Kids With a Creative Side

  • The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is posting daily activities to continue their mission of engaging learning through play, including videos, hands on science projects, art projects, read aloud books, physical activities and more – all around a daily theme.
  • Explore More Children’s Museum launched Explore More at Home, a collection of curated activities that explore a variety of themes.
  • Roanoke’s Kids Square Children’s Museum airs live videos on Facebook featuring everything from science experiments, DIY activities, book reading and more.

Virtual Live Theater and Education Options

  • The American Shakespeare Center is bringing Blackfriars Playhouse online with cinema-quality streaming video of the complete 2020 Actors’ Renaissance and Tour Homecoming seasons.
  • The Grandin Theatre in Roanoke is offering movies to rent and watch from home on the theater’s streaming platform.
  • The Barter Theatre in Abingdon is offering its patrons the ability to stream productions from home. The theater’s current production of “Peter Pan” will be online to patrons as well as access special bonus features. The theater will also be providing coordinating educator resources, including lesson plans and a study guide.

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1708 Gallery’s InLight Richmond Planned for November

The 13th annual InLight Richmond will take place from November 12th – 16th, 2020 at sites across Richmond and will address the paired themes of Safety and Accountability.

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1708 Gallery is pleased to announce that its 13th annual InLight Richmond will take place from November 12th – 16th, 2020 at sites across Richmond and will address the paired themes of Safety and Accountability.

InLight is a public exhibition of contemporary light-based artworks—multimedia and interactive projects, video, projection, sculpture, installation, performance, community-based work, digital and virtual projects—and has historically taken place in a singular location each November. Past sites include Chimborazo Park, the streets, facades and alleyways of the downtown Arts District and the sculpture garden and grounds of the VMFA.

In response to COVID-19, InLight’s multi-site platform will allow for socially distanced and virtual viewing. Further inspired by the ongoing community dialogues surrounding the unjust and inequitable treatment of Black lives and by Richmond’s coming together in support and aid during these crises, this year is focused on Safety and Accountability.

1708 invites artists, community groups, and stewards of spaces in Richmond to propose projects that can illuminate issues of Safety and Accountability. We seek proposals that respond to what these key terms mean spatially, historically, socially, and politically. We invite proposals that demonstrate profound consideration for designated sites and their communities.

For more details about InLight 2020 and to submit an entry, visit 1708gallery.org.

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VMFA to exhibit “Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities” beginning July 4th

The exhibition features nearly 300 objects, mostly from underwater excavations of the ancient Egyptian cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has announced the East Coast premiere of Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities.

The exhibition features nearly 300 objects, mostly from underwater excavations of the ancient Egyptian cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion. Sunken Cities is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to experience the grandeur and complexity of Ptolemaic Egypt, one of the wealthiest, most powerful and influential kingdoms of the ancient Mediterranean.

The exhibition was curated by Franck Goddio, the director of the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) and organized for VMFA by Dr. Peter Schertz, VMFA’s Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art. Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities will open at the museum on July 4, 2020.

The exhibition highlights ancient artifacts retrieved from Aboukier Bay off the coast of Egypt by a team of underwater archaeologists led by Goddio. In addition to some 250 works recovered by IEASM, 40 additional works from museums in Egypt help tell the story of Ptolemaic Egypt and one of its most important cults, the annual celebration of the Mysteries of Osiris.

“We are thrilled to offer this unique experience to our visitors,” said VMFA Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “VMFA brings the world to Richmond, and this exhibition explores the fascinating history of two lost cities of ancient Egypt. This is the last time this groundbreaking exhibition will be on view in North America, and we hope to attract a wide range of visitors.”

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities is presented by Dominion Energy. “We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with VMFA through this exciting exhibition,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, President of the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. “Promoting cultural diversity and community vitality is an important goal for us, and we are proud to help bring these rare pieces of art to our community.”

“When people come to this exhibition, they’re going to see amazing works of art that reveal the diversity of the ancient world and the ways that the civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome interacted and influenced each other more than 2,000 years ago,” says VMFA’s Jack and Mary Ann Frable Curator of Ancient Art Dr. Peter Schertz.

Highlights of the exhibition include a nearly 18-foot-tall, 5.6-ton statue of the god Hapy, the largest stone statue of a god recovered from ancient Egypt, beautiful statues of other gods and rulers of that civilization, as well as fascinating objects used to celebrate the annual Mysteries of Osiris. Powerful photography, films, maps, graphics, and an audio guide provide context and background on how these cities were lost and rediscovered. Visitors to the exhibition will discover the cosmopolitan society that emerged from the blending of Greek and Egyptian cultures after the conquests of Alexander the Great. A key aspect of the exhibition is the exploration of the cult of Osiris, ruler of the underworld and god of new life, who was celebrated throughout Egypt. Goddio’s excavations have brought to light a wealth of implements used in the celebration of the Mysteries of Osiris, one of the great religious ceremonies of ancient Egypt, which involved a maritime procession through the canals that once connected the two cities.

The exhibition is free for VMFA members, children ages 6 and under, state employees and teachers, as well as active-duty military personnel and their immediate families; $20 for adults; $16 for seniors 65+; and $10 for youth 7–17 and college students with ID.

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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of History and Culture announce reopening plans

Two prominent Richmond museums have announced plans to reopen under modified operating plans – the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.

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Two prominent Richmond museums have announced plans to reopen under modified operating plans – the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.

The VMFA’s announcement:

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced it will reopen to the public on Saturday, July 4, 2020; museum members will have early access beginning July 1. With its reopening, the museum will resume its regular operating hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until 9 p.m. VMFA’s plans were announced as the City of Richmond entered Phase 2, lifting more COVID-19 related restrictions.

“We appreciate the community’s patience and support while the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “We are committed to providing a safe, artful experience once again and we’re excited to welcome the community back to VMFA!”

Following the guidance of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the museum will implement safeguards to help ensure the health and well-being of its visitors, staff and volunteers. Wearing face coverings will be required and disposable masks will be provided to those who do not bring their own. To limit the number of people within the museum at one time, visitors will enter through the main entrance near the McGlothlin Wing on the first floor and exit near the Art Education Center located off North Arthur Ashe Boulevard, also on the first floor. Physical distancing must be practiced while inside the museum and outside on VMFA’s grounds. The facilities and campus will be cleaned and sanitized daily, with high-touch areas and restrooms cleaned more frequently. Hand-sanitizing stations will be available throughout the museum. Clear acrylic partitions are installed at Visitor Services, in the VMFA Shop, and at all public-facing workstations.

The permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions will be open. The exhibition Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop has been extended through October 18. Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities, a new, ticketed exhibition, will also open to the public on July 4. As Sunken Cities promises to be a popular exhibition, admittance will be timed to maintain physical distancing within the galleries. Due to restrictions on gatherings, group tours cannot be scheduled.

VMFA’s casual dining venue Best Café will operate “grab-and-go” service and provide limited seating, spaced to meet physical-distancing standards. Amuse, VMFA’s fine dining restaurant, will also be open with limited seating; reservations are recommended. The Library, currently being reconfigured to distance workstations and equipment, will reopen to visitors by appointment in September. To maintain physical-distancing standards, a limited number of shoppers will be able to enter the VMFA Shop at one time. Clear acrylic partitions will offer protection during transactions at check-out stations where visitors will be encouraged to use debit cards, credit cards or Apple Pay when purchasing tickets, merchandise, or food at the museum.

For the remainder of the summer, all in-person early childhood programs, kids’ camps, teen camps, and adult studio school classes, as well as K-12-adult guided and self-directed tours are canceled. The museum’s comprehensive online resources, which include art activities, permanent art collections, virtual exhibitions, art history classes and educational programs can be accessed from home through the museum’s website at www.VMFA.museum.

“After weeks of having to keep our galleries closed to the public, we look forward to seeing people return to the museum and rediscover art that consoles, inspires and excites,” said Nyerges.

Complete details about VMFA’s safety measures can be found at www.VMFA.museum/COVID-19.

VMHC’s announcement:

The wait is over – we are excited to announce that the Virginia Museum of History & Culture will re-open to VMHC members on June 27-30 and to all guests on July 1!

Please note that you must purchase a ticket online prior to visiting (free for members; discounted for all others). Please also take time to learn more about our new safety guidelines and other important changes to the museum experience, all designed to help keep you safe. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit VirginiaHistory.org/Tickets.

VMHC Member-Only Preview Days: June 27-30, 2020. Timed tickets during member preview days are available every half hour beginning at 11:00 am with the last entry time at 2:00 pm. (Not a member yet or need to renew? Click here!)
Open to the Public: Beginning July 1, 2020. Timed tickets will be available every half hour starting at 10:00 am with last entry time at 4:30 pm.
We are excited to share with you two new exhibitions:

Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today – Organized in conjunction with the statewide Women’s Suffrage Centennial, this exhibition celebrates a century of women’s social and political activism and the positive changes their work has brought forth in their communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation. Learn more.
A Landscape Saved: The Garden Club of Virginia at 100 – Explore the colorful, courageous, and impressive history of the Garden Club of Virginia and three generations of activists who have produced a strong statewide voice for conservation, gardening, and education surrounding Virginia’s natural resources and historic landscapes. Learn more.

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