Virginia Discovery Museum

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The Virginia Discovery Museum (VDM) is a nonprofit hands-on children's museum, with exhibits on the arts, sciences, humanities, history and nature. The museum is located on the Downtown Mall and aimed at children ages 1 to 10 and their families.


The Virginia Discovery Museum brings young children and families together to engage minds, excite imaginations and explore the world around them.


The Virginia Discovery Museum was incorporated in 1981 in order to organize interactive activities which traveled throughout Central Virginia. The popularity of these programs increased the board's resolve to find a building for the exhibits.

On October 25, 1986, VDM welcomed visitors to its first home, a two-story house located near the University of Virginia. The numbers of visitors increased and a bigger building was needed.

On May 1, 1990, the Museum opened in its current location on the Downtown Mall. City Council made two loans to Council totaling $50,000. Initially, the museum could not pay and asked for an extension. [1]

In 2009, the museum broke its admissions record last year with 59,395 people entering the museum.[2]

Beth Solak and Janine Dozier are the co-executive directors of the museum. [3]

The museum pays $3,900 in rent per year to the city of Charlottesville. [4]

2016 renovations

The museum closed for a month in early 2016 for renovations and to install new exhibits. [3] Following the renovation, attendance is projected to increase to more than 70,000 in 2017. [5]

Board of Directors


Since 2006, the museum has operated a carousel outside of its storefront. City Council granted a five-year lease to the museum that expires on June 30, 2011[6]. The carousel is a gift from Fred Scott.


  1. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, July 15, 1991.
  2. "Facts at a glance." Virginia Discovery Museum - a hands-on children's museum, with exhibits on the arts, sciences, humanities, history and nature. Charlottesville, Virginia on the East End of the Downtown Mall. Web. 19 Oct. 2009. <>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. Discovery museum to reopen after renovations, Aaron Richardson, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 13, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  4. Web. Agenda for June 21, 2021 Charlottesville City Council, City of Charlottesville, June 21, 2021., retrieved June 17, 2024.
  5. Web. Discovery Museum grows, partners with community organizations, Talia Wiener, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, June 25, 2017, retrieved July 11, 2017.
  6. Charlottesville City Council Minutes, 15 May 2006. City of Charlottesville, Virginia. Retrieved 21 Jun. 2010

External links

External links