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History Museum Kicks Off Capital Campaign – Offers Free Admission

The History Museum of Western Virginia has announced the final phase of their Capital Campaign: Crossroads of History. To prepare for their relocation in June, the Museum will be FREE to the public throughout the month of May. It’s a great opportunity to check out the “old museum” one last time before they relocate to Hotel Shenandoah on Campbell Avenue (the former Twists & Turns building) in preparation for renovations at Center in the Square. Upon completion of renovations in 2013, the History Museum will return to the third floor of Center in the Square.

When Center in the Square opened in 1983 in a renovated 1914 warehouse (the McGuire Building) in the old city market, the History Museum became one of five nonprofit “anchor tenants” of this revitalization project. Commencing in 2007 the Historical Society of Western Virginia began a capital campaign to renovate the History Museum with the goal of increasing accessibility to collections and exhibitions in order to better fulfill the Museum’s education mission and reconnect with new audiences in a more meaningful way. To date, the museum has raised $1.2 million and renovated the Museum’s research facility (Watts Library), education workshop (Barbara and E. Wilson Watts Education Gallery), and administrative areas. Additionally, the Virtual Museum has been created –  an online research resource available through the world-wide web.

The museum is now seeking an additional $1.5 million to renovate the exhibition galleries and upgrade their collections and archival storage areas. A new continuing exhibition will incorporate the best in interpretive and technical standards while revealing 10,000 years of our region’s cultural heritage through artifacts that span the whole human experience from prehistoric times to the present day. Modified collections storage will allow the History Museum to better house and care for its collection. The organization is a repository for the material culture of southwestern Virginia and they are entrusted with the care of the region’s memory in perpetuity.

The first three phases of the museum’s campaign have been completed and paid for and remaining unexpended funds have been transferred to the fourth and final phase of the campaign. During a silent campaign going on this year, the museum raised a significant amount of new campaign pledges – including a $50,000 gift from an anonymous donor to pay for the Crossroads Central Timeline Exhibit. Gifts are still needed to complete the  campaign. Hours are: Tuesday – Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 1-5pm.

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