Free Admission to Virginia Museum of Natural History Now Available to Low-Income Families Thanks to Hooker Furnishings Partnership
The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) is pleased to announce Hooker Furnishings as the museum's latest corporate partner in support of the museum's ongoing participation in the national "Museum's for All" initiative, a program which provides free or reduced admission to more than 500 museums throughout the United States for Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cardholders. Additionally, the sponsorship will underwrite the costs of providing a number of museum educational programs for students in underserved Virginia public schools.
Specifically, the partnership allows for the museum to waive all admission fees for visitors who present their EBT card at the VMNH box office now through April 2022 as part of the "Museum's for All" initiative led by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Previously, EBT cardholders received reduced museum admission fees of $2 per adult and $1 per child.
Additionally, the partnership allows the museum to offer a number of museum-led educational programs free of charge for K-12 public school classes in underserved Virginia schools qualifying for free or reduced lunches. The programs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Having the support of Hooker Furnishings helps tremendously as the museum continues to forge ahead with expanding its inclusivity initiatives and educational programming opportunities throughout Virginia and beyond," said VMNH Deputy Director Ryan Barber. "This latest partnership is especially exciting, as it continues a long history of the company's support of the museum that began over 25 years ago."
EBT cardholders from any state wishing to take advantage of free VMNH admission must simply present their EBT card and accompanying identification at the museum box office upon arrival. More information about this program can be found at www.vmnh.net/plan-your-visit.
Virginia's K-12 public school teachers wishing to take advantage of the cost-free educational programs offered through the support of Hooker Furnishings can contact the museum at email@example.com or visit www.vmnh.net/education/distance-learning to learn more.
The museum offers three main formats of educational programming for schools: At-the-museum programming, which takes place inside the museum's own classrooms, outreach programming, in which museum educators conduct programming inside school classrooms, and distance learning programming, which take place virtually. Due to health restrictions, the museum's current educational offerings for schools are limited to distance learning programs.
VMNH distance learning programs bring students to the museum without ever having to leave their seats. Through the use of two-way video, classes join museum educators to explore Virginia’s natural heritage and uncover its rich biological and geological history. Together, with the use of videoconferencing and interactive activities, museum educators spark imagination, enhance curricula, and support Virginia and national educational standards.
"Our distance learning programs are heavily STEM-based and have increased in popularity as educators continue to look for new and exciting ways to keep their students engaged," said VMNH Education Manager Christy Deatherage. "It also serves as a wonderful way to bring museum exhibits and programs to students who cannot visit the museum, whether it's due to the current health restrictions or other factors, such as travel distance."
Hooker Furnishings' support of the museum dates back to June 1995, when the company became a corporate member of VMNH. Since then, the company has supported the museum in various ways, ranging from providing in-kind luxury furniture items for the VMNH Foundation's annual "Grapes and Grains" silent auction fundraiser, to providing a $100,000 gift for the development of the museum's Hooker Furniture Theater, which debuted in Spring 2007 and has since been transformed to become the Hooker Furniture Discovery Reef, a hands-on, interactive play and discovery area for children.
“Hooker Furnishings is proud to continue a partnership with VMNH that began over 25 years ago,” said Jeremy R. Hoff, Chief Executive Officer. “This partnership is an integral part of our Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) efforts. We believe helping to educate the next generation is an important part of our environmental stewardship responsibilities and VMNH is the perfect vehicle to do that through its research and interpretation of our natural history. Additionally, helping to remove barriers to STEM-based educational opportunities to under-served populations is a critical step forward socially,” Hoff concluded.
Hooker Furnishings is in the process of adopting a broader set of policies and practices addressing environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and ethics and governance that it believes will create long-term value for its shareholders, while investing in its associates and communities and positively impacting the environment. The Company is actively working to expand and refine its ESG initiatives based on current best practices, shareholder expectations and regulatory developments.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is currently open to visitors Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed all other days. VMNH Distance Learning programs are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and must be reserved in advance. To learn more about VMNH hours of operation and educational programming opportunities, visit www.vmnh.net.
About the Virginia Museum of Natural History
The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville seeks to increase understanding of, and appreciation for, the natural history of the Commonwealth through education, research, collections, publications and exhibits. The museum – an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution – is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a distinction earned by fewer than 10 percent of museums in the United States. The museum is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Virginia Association of Museums, Heritage Preservation, and is an agency of the Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to COVID-19, the museum is currently open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed all other days. General admission is $10 for ages 18-59; $5 for children and youth ages 3-17, seniors 60+ and college students; members and children under 3 receive free admission. Visit www.vmnh.net to learn more, or follow the museum on Facebook.
About Hooker Furnishings Corporation
Hooker Furniture Corporation (NASDAQ-GS: HOFT), in its 97th year of business, is a designer, marketer and importer of casegoods (wooden and metal furniture), leather-and fabric-upholstered furniture for the residential, hospitality and contract markets. The Company also domestically manufactures premium residential custom leather and custom fabric-upholstered furniture. It is ranked among the nation’s largest publicly traded furniture sources, based on 2019 shipments to U.S. retailers, according to a 2020 survey by a leading trade publication. Hooker Furniture Corporation’s corporate offices and upholstery manufacturing facilities are located in Virginia and North Carolina, with showrooms in High Point, N.C. and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The company operates eight distribution centers in North Carolina, Virginia, California and Vietnam.