Martinsville, Virginia


Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia awards Virginia Museum of Natural History with grant

By: Zachary Ryder, Virginia Museum of Natural History

November 13, 2023


Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia has awarded the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) a grant of $3,700 in support of the museum's initiative to provide free admission to EBT card holders and their families.

"We're incredibly grateful to have the support of Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia as we continue to aim to make the museum more accessible to all Virginians," said Ryan Barber, VMNH Deputy Director. "Through this funding and funding from additional corporate partners, the museum is pleased to be able to continue offering free admission to all EBT card holders and their families."

Specifically, the grant supports the museum's participation in the Institute of Museum and Library Services' Museums for All program, which provides reduced admission rates for EBT card holders and their families. In recent years, the museum has received supplemental funding from local businesses, which has allowed the museum to waive all remaining admission fees associated with the program.

"It's exciting to see the local and regional support of this program continue to grow," said Barber. "Hooker Furnishings has supported this program since 2021 and, this year, we've been thankful to also receive the support of Carter Bank & Trust and Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia."

Thousands of VMNH visitors have already participated in the Museums for All program this year, and the museum looks to grow participation in 2024.

"Not only will this grant play an important role in allowing us to waive all admission fees for Museums for All program participants, but it will also help us in our efforts to expand awareness of this opportunity locally, regionally and statewide," said Barber.

The grant not only furthers the museum's goal of increasing access to the museum, but furthers Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia's (Community Foundation) history of supporting access to the arts.

“The Community Foundation has a long standing history of supporting access to the arts, and we are thrilled to be in a position to provide this opportunity to individuals and families in the Martinsville community,” said Michelle Eberly, Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia Director of Grants and Donor Engagement.

To receive free admission to the Virginia Museum of Natural History, EBT cardholders from any state must simply present their EBT card and accompanying photo identification at the museum box office upon arrival. Free admission will be granted to the cardholder and the cardholder’s immediate family members living within the same household, with a limit of 6 individuals total.

The museum is open to visitors Tuesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed all other days, including some holidays.

Regular museum admission is $10 for ages 18-59 and $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students. VMNH Members and children under 3 receive free admission.

The museum’s current special exhibit is Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas, which is on exhibit at VMNH through January 20, 2024. The exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; The Field Museum, Chicago; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh.

For more information about the museum, visit