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VLM Reaches $5 Million Future Ready Campaign

January 6, 2017

The Virginia Living Museum (VLM) concluded their year-long celebration in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary during the Noon Year’s Eve event Dec. 31, 2016.  In honor of the museum’s golden anniversary and mission to connect people to nature, they kicked-off their anniversary year with a $5 million Future Ready Campaign.

“This morning we needed to collect our final $124. With your change and your help and the support from our generous community I am proud to say that the museum reached that goal today,” said Rebecca Kleinhample, VLM Executive Director. “As of December 31, we have raised $5 million.”

Kleinhample explained that with the success of the $5 million campaign the museum will fund strategic goals for sustainability and science. “These funds will propel the museum into the future by featuring a blend of dynamic exhibits, exciting educational programming, a capital addition and financial security through our endowment,” added Kleinhample.


With the support of the community, 2016 has been labeled a milestone year for the museum. Charles W. Wornom, Campaign Chair, was honored as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Association for Fundraising Professionals at their annual November event. A variety of fundraisers, special events, and exhibits were also hosted in efforts to gain support and increase community participation. These highlights included Big Bugs exhibit, An Enchanted Otter 50th Anniversary Masked Ball, the annual Bacchus Wine and Food Festival, a celebrity appearance by Jack Hanna, Raptor Day, VLM Oyster Roast, Garden Fest, and the Wild at Art Show. The celebration events concluded with record attendance at the Community Birthday Party, Nov. 13, 2016, marking the museum’s official 50th birthday.

“This museum was built by our community. We are loved and sustained by our community, and I thank you for that,” said Kleinhample. “We pledge to continue to preserve and promote this natural treasure for families like yours for many, many years to come.”

2017 will bring great additions to the VLM. Visitors will enjoy the new permanent outdoor Dinosaur Discovery Trail and Wolf to Woof and Nature Connects: Art with LEGO bricks changing exhibits. A large animal care facility to support the highest level of professional animal care will also be added.

Honorary chairs of the museum’s 50th anniversary are: 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 and Congressman Rob Wittman.

Charles W. Wornom chaired the Campaign Committee whose members are: 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. and Joseph R. Witt.

Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for children (ages 3-12); ages 2 and under and VLM members are free. The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, I-64, exit 258A. For more information visit or call 757-595-1900.


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