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The purpose of this policy is to protect the Virginia Living Museum’s historic, financial, public relations and ethical interests relative to the sale, use and distribution of photographs and/or other images of museum property, possessions and collections (e.g., artifacts, animals, exhibits, etc.). The museum is a private, non-profit facility and all artifacts and exhibits, live and non-live, are private property and subject to all the usual considerations of ownership and protection for copyrights and other commercial applications by outside organizations or individuals.

The safety and enjoyment of the museum’s visitors and the protection of its collections and animals is of the utmost importance. The Virginia Living Museum reserves the right to cancel permission for commercial photography or filming at any time without penalty or refund.

Amateur Photography and Videography

Visitors are permitted to take photographs and shoot videos for personal, non-commercial use. Photographs and videos are not to be used for any commercial purposes, including but not limited to: Web sites, print or broadcast advertisements, publications, training films, feature films or motion pictures (movies), screen savers, podcasts, or other public use.

Visitors must abide by the following rules when taking pictures or videotaping at the Museum:

  • Exhibits, plants, animals, animal enclosures, animal care and support areas may not be entered or disturbed.
  • Pathways or other access areas may not be blocked in any way.
  • Labels and other signs may not be changed or removed.
  • Photographers are liable for any damage to museum property.
  • The museum and its employees are not responsible for any loss or damages that may occur.

Media/Press Photography


Jimmy Cunningham, Media & Communications Manager, 757-534-7403

Media organizations must contact the Marketing Department before filming of any kind. No fees will be charged to photographers with appropriate news credentials.

Professional/Commercial Photography, Videography & Filming


Jimmy Cunningham, Media & Communications Manager, 757-534-7403

Approval Process
The Marketing Department must be contacted in advance to approve all commercial photography, filming or videotaping. Before approval for a shoot can be given, full detail on the nature of the project, intended use of photos, film or videotape, the proposed date(s), times, number of people involved and other pertinent information must be submitted in writing. The museum reserves the right to refuse any project for any reason, including negative depiction of the museum or its employees or in association with organizations whose intentions are inconsistent with the museum’s mission. The museum will not allow any implied or actual endorsement of a product, institution or ideology.

Approval does not grant exclusive access to, or use of, the museum during the day and time requested.

Terms & Conditions
Ad agencies, public relations firms, marketing groups, corporate communications offices, commercial photographers and others shooting photography for use in display advertising, television commercials, feature films, brochures, product literature, annual reports, training videos, photographs for sale and other industrial, promotional or advertising projects must abide by the following rules:

  • Exhibits, plants, and animals, animal enclosures, animal care and support areas may not be entered or disturbed without the express written permission of, and accompaniment by, curatorial or animal care staff.
  • The museum encourages all production to be done during weekday operation hours (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Any projects occurring before or after operating hours will require special permission and may entail additional charges to cover overtime of staff and utility costs.
  • Only authorized personnel of the Virginia Living Museum will touch, pick up and/or move objects or animals in a collection or exhibit. They will advise the photographer or filmmaker (or his or her designated representatives) which objects or animals can and cannot be moved. Flash photography is permitted.
  • Animal care personnel reserve the right to terminate photography or filming immediately if, in their opinion, physical or psychological harm is, or may be caused by, sounds, lights or movement.
  • No equipment shall be placed on or attached to any part of a building or any collection or exhibit piece.
  • No nails, screws, tacks, tapes or adhesives shall be applied to any part of the building or collection.
  • No organic materials, such as plants, plant products or materials, or food or foodstuffs, shall be brought into the museum.
  • No building systems shall be disabled or turned off during the filming.These policies apply to all amateur photographers, wedding and family photographers, media/press photographers, professional/commercial photographers and student and non-profit photographers using museum property at any time. Those who do not comply with this policy will be asked to leave the premises.

Fees are due upon approval of the applications. Additional museum incurred expenses are due upon completion of the production. Checks must be made payable to Virginia Living Museum. The standard fee is for a commercial shoot is $100 an hour. A 50% deposit is due before the scheduled shoot. Fees may be waived in writing by the museum.

Actors or models must use public restrooms for changes. Appropriate attire is required at all times. Facilities other than public restrooms, when available, may be used; additional fees may apply.

Screen credit shall be given to Virginia Living Museum.

The photographer or filmmaker shall have total ownership for perpetuity and all rights for the images or film produced at the museum in accordance with the details of the Commercial Photography Application permit unless otherwise contracted.

The photographer or filmmaker shall provide two (2) copies of the images or the finished, edited film in VHS or DVD format to the museum.

Policy & Authorization Form

Contact Abigail Duncan for information about wedding photography.