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What Is the Science Museum of Virginia?

Richmond is the home to the Science Museum of Virginia.
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  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2014
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The Science Museum of Virginia is a state museum based in Richmond, Virginia, whose mission is "Inspiring Virginians to enrich their lives through science." This family museum, located at 2500 West Broad Street within a historic railroad station, features permanent exhibits on the topics of natural science, energy, and health. The Danville Science Center and Virginia Aviation Museum are also divisions of the Science Museum of Virginia. All three museums are open Tuesday through Sunday as well as on selected Mondays after Labor Day. They are closed Christmas Day and Christmas Eve as well as Thanksgiving Day.

State legislation established the Science Museum of Virginia on 1 July 1970 after several previous incarnations, beginning with an unofficial state natural history museum in 1910 that was later dismantled. Later, after the museum was formed again, it was eventually moved into Richmond's former Broad Street Railroad Station in 1976. This space was substantially expanded in the early 1980s.

The Science Museum of Virginia offers a changing schedule of live programming and demonstrations to engage participants of all ages. Lab exhibits offer opportunities for hands-on learning. All of the museum's programming is related to science concepts such as the scientific method, the physics of motion, optical illusions, or types of electricity.

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At the Science Museum of Virginia, educational programs are available to homeschooling groups and school field trips, as well as school outreach opportunities that take place at individual schools. The museum also has workshops and other offerings specifically for teachers. One key feature of the Science Museum of Virginia is the ability to view IMAX® films. The museum's movie screen is said to be the largest one in the state of Virginia. Another fun possibility for kids is the museum's summer day camp experiences.

The Science Museum of Virginia offers reduced admission prices to its members as well as for children 4-12 years old and adults over 60. Children under 3 can be admitted for free. Free parking is available on site.

The Danville Science Center is located in the Southern Railway Passenger Station in a historic area of Danville, Virginia. This family museum, an offshoot of the Science Museum of Virginia, opened in 1995 and has featured a butterfly garden since 1999. Like its Richmond parent museum, the Danville Science Center offers an ongoing selection of children's science programming as well as summer day camps.

The Virginia Aviation Museum is located at the Richmond International Airport, offering classes for children as well as seniors and other adults. This museum's kindergarten-12th grade educational programs teach math, history, and science concepts related to aviation in a fun environment. Some of its children's programs are based around merit badges earned by the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts, although the programming is open to any child over 11.

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