RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Museum of History and Culture, located on Arthur Ashe Boulevard will reopen on May 14 after a “dramatic transformation”.

This grand reopening will showcase what museum staff are calling the most extensive renovation in the nearly 200-year history of this institution.

“After two years of work, we simply can’t wait to welcome guests from around the state and across the nation to this special place. This extensive project, the most important in our own institutional journey, was done for them,” said Virginia Museum of History and Culture President & CEO Jamie Bosket.

“We are committed to thoughtfully saving and sharing the story of this Commonwealth in a way that better welcomes and reflects all its people.”

Multiple new exhibits, experiences and amenities have been incorporated to welcome and reflect all Virginians, while engaging, informing and inspiring those who attend.

“The renovated museum looks to open minds young and old, offer different perspectives and make connections between yesterday and today by presenting history through a fresh and accessible lens,” a press release from the museum said.

The project cost over $30 million and renovated nearly two-thirds of the museum’s 250,000 square-foot space. The renovations include:

  • a grand two-story atrium
  • an immersive orientation theatre,
  • about 50% more space for both long-term and changing exhibits
  • a new research library
  • multiple community meeting and gathering spaces
  • a campus connector with the VMFA
  • an enhanced green space
  • a new cafe and museum store

Alongside the grand reopening, the museum will debut new exhibits and galleries, which “present new approaches to understanding the distant and not-so-distant past.”

The long-term Our Commonwealth exhibit is the centerpiece of these new offerings. This exhibit will offer an in-depth exploration of the five regions of Virginia. It will include stories and artifacts from cultural institutions and organizations across the state.

According to the museum, “Our Commonwealth will launch audiences on a memorable and scenic journey, thanks to living murals — large-scale, changing digital projections — and custom soundscapes that will immerse them in the arts, culture, food, music, industry and people of each region.”

Other exhibits opening at the museum in May include:

  • American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith, a Smithsonian-organized exhibition that will dynamically bring the great American experiment of democracy to life
  • Treasures of Virginia, which will feature remarkable objects associated with Virginians who, through extraordinary leadership and creativity, have worked to shape the future of both our state and our nation
  • Commonwealth Explorers, a new interactive learning space for the museum’s youngest guests
  • History Matters, an introductory exhibition that speaks to the ways history connects us all.

In the newly built orientation theatre, Imagine Virginia will be screened. This 17-minute film highlights scenes in Virginia history to serve as an introduction to the museum.

The grand reopening will include a full public celebration with live music. Admission for the weekend, May 14 and 15, will be free and will include family activities. Previews are available for museum members and supporters.

For all the details and information about becoming a member, visit VirginiaHistory.org