Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville

#2 of 8 in Things to do in Henry County
As the state’s museum of natural history serving the entire Commonwealth and beyond, VMNH has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and innovative educational programs for all ages. With its outreach education programs, online resources, and traveling exhibits and displays, the Virginia Museum of Natural History is truly an institution without walls.

VMNH Mission: To interpret Virginia's natural heritage within a global context in ways that are relevant to all citizens of the Commonwealth.

•VMNH is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction earned by fewer than 5% of museums across the U.S.

•VMNH became a state agency in 1988.

•The museum celebrated the opening of its new world-class facility in March 2007, drawing visitors from all 50 states and 20 countries.

•The VMNH Foundation’s annual Thomas Jefferson Awards honor Virginia businesses, groups and individuals for their contributions to and support for natural science.

Research and Collections

VMNH has developed a strong reputation for significant research and important collections, which now number more than 10 million items. Research at VMNH, lead by its seven doctoral curators and curators emeritus, focuses on studies of Invertebrate Paleontology, Vertebrate Paleontology, Recent Invertebrates, Archaeology, Mammalogy, Marine Science and Geology. While the museum’s primary geographic strengths are in Virginia and the Southeastern United States, the collections and research programs span the globe with programs in China, Peru, Brazil, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Russia and Tanzania.


The museum's innovative education programs reach students, teachers, and the general public statewide and throughout the region. From "at-the-museum" programs to outreach education programs that bring the museum to locations across the Commonwealth, the museum's education programs are correlated directly to the Virginia Standards of Learning and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. VMNH educators are leaders in the field of informal science education throughout the state, providing a vital link between the museum's important research and collections programs and all citizens of Virginia and beyond.


In addition to its important programs in research, collections, and education, the museum also features award-winning permanent and temporary exhibits both at the museum and through remote sites. Along with the museum's permanent exhibitions, the current special exhibits Living off the Land and Documenting Diversity help to translate the museum's groundbreaking scientific research into easily understood language and concepts that supplement and highlight the Virginia Standards of Learning and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. From the permanent exhibit galleries Uncovering Virginia and How Nature Works to the new Hahn Hall of Biodiversity and the Fossil Overlook, the museum's exhibits connect visitors to the stories of Virginia's natural past, present and future. Make Virginia Museum of Natural History a part of your Martinsville vacation plans using our Martinsville tour builder app .
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Virginia Museum of Natural History Reviews
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81 reviews
  • I traveled 5 hours and spent the night in Martinsville to attend the Dragon Festival at the museum. They did not disappoint. We had a fabulous time. The exhibit was a success. Everyone was friendly...  more »
  • Our community is lucky to have a state museum in Martinsville. The museum offers monthly science discussions (except during the summer), various festivals, and workshops and tours. The collections...  more »
  • This place is amazing. The dinosaurs exhibits here are constructed exceptionally well. My children loved it. I would recommend any family to go to this museum. It's fun, interactive, and very educational. The staff and guides are very educated and knowledgeable of the exhibits.
  • It was smaller than I expected, but they pack quite a bit into the space. The quality of the displays is impressive. We're glad we went during the museum's Dino Festival because they have a lot of things to make it fun for the kids. We will probably only go again during festivals because otherwise just not worth driving an hour from Roanoke again.

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