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Future Ready

Future Ready Anniversary Campaign

VLM_Anniversary_Logo7In 1966 more than fifty years ago, an idea was born, a trailblazing community project that began as a little brown building in the woods. Harry Wason’s vision, led by the Warwick Rotary Club and the Junior League of Hampton Roads, was designed to educate our community children about the wonders of science found here in Virginia’s natural heritage. For 50 years, families have flocked to what is now the Virginia Living Museum, a beloved institution of learning, science, conservation and personal memories.


Today the Virginia Living Museum is a premier center for science education and tourist attraction in Newport News, VA. Education is the core of the Museum’s mission to connect people to nature. Each year more than 40,000 students receive hands-on, grade-level targeted classes taught by professional educators.

  • K-12 education programs recognized by the National Science Foundation, and the U.S and Virginia Departments of Education for promoting achievement in science.
  • The Museum’s economic impact in the Commonwealth is more than $9 million per year (study by VCU).
  • Governor’s Environmental Excellence Gold Award in 2015 recognizing 50 years of environmental education and environmental stewardship.
  • Accredited by both the AZA and AAM, the Museum contributes to wildlife conservation through research, citizen science, and management programs.

$5 million for Sustainability and Science Achievement

vlm-goalthermometer-48bThe Virginia Living Museum’s 50th anniversary is a celebration of five decades of accomplishments, strength, and resiliency. It is also the time to look forward to an even brighter future. In this spirit, the Museum’s Future Ready Campaign will raise $5 million to fund strategic goals for sustainability and science achievement, propelling the Museum into the future at the leading edge of science and environmental education.


Sustainability Goal: $3 million


  • Strengthen the institution to withstand future challenges.
  • Decrease dependence on public funds from the City of Newport News.
  • Increase services to underserved groups and active duty families in our region.
Sustain the Museum for the Future


  • AZA required animal facility and updates for state-of-the art animal care.
  • Dinosaur Trail! A new outdoor permanent exhibit with near life-sized, scientifically accurate dinosaurs and kid-sized Paleontology Camp. Read more
  • Sculpture commemorating our 50th Anniversary.
Name Your Dinosaur

Science Goal: $2 million


  • Promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  • Initiate career pathways for our region’s youth.
  • Provide sanctuary and state-of-the-art veterinary care for non-releasable wildlife.
  • Contribute to the conservation of Virginia’s wildlife and the environment.


Honorary Committee
William B. Downey
Mary Sherwood Holt
John R. Lawson II
C. Michael Petters
Frank W. Roach
Congressman Bobby Scott
Paul S. Trible, Jr.
Harry H. Wason
Congressman Rob Wittman

Campaign Committee
Charles W. Wornom, Chair
Randy Abbitt
Mari Ann Banks
Rolf Bartschi
Alonzo R. Bell, Jr.
William R. Ermatinger
George R. Goodson, Jr.
Kathy A. Howell
John Q.A. Mattern II
Donald N. Patten
Brian K. Skinner
James B. Thomas, Jr.
Joseph R. Witt

The Virginia Living Museum is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Service designation. Museum financial information is available by written request from the Virginia Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs

For more information contact Development Director Sarah Wilson at 757-595-1900 ext. 257 or email.