MARTINSVILLE, Va. (February 24, 2021) – The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) and Boxley Materials Company (Boxley) have announced a partnership in support of the museum’s virtual education offerings throughout 2021 and 2022.
Through a $10,000 gift from Boxley to the VMNH Foundation, the museum will be better positioned to market and deliver a combination of STEM educational programs led by VMNH educators and scientists, with various programs delivered to schools, families, and general social media audiences.
“We’re extremely grateful for Boxley’s continued support of the museum’s educational programming,” said Ryan Barber, deputy director of the museum. “As we continue to offer new and exciting virtual content, this partnership will not only support the implementation of the programming, but it will also allow us to reach even more audiences throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.”
Specific programs supported by the partnership include the museum’s Distance Learning Programming, Homeschool Science and Engineering Academy, Virtual Science Talks, as well as the original social media series “Museum Minute” and “Tales of Ancient Life”.
Distance Learning Programming
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.
Homeschool Science and Engineering Academy
Homeschool Science and Engineering Academy is a series of bi-monthly programs from September to May designed to supplement students’ learning and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) based topics. Additionally, the museum works with homeschool groups individually to design and provide programming relevant to students’ needs. Since the pandemic began, the Academy transitioned into a virtual-only offering.
Virtual Science Talks
The museum’s virtual science talks fall under the umbrella of “Commonwealth Interconnections: Science and Technology Solutions for an Informed Citizenry”. This series is presented by curators and engaging guest presenters who are experts in their respective fields. The 10-15 minute presentations highlight a variety of natural history and conservation topics.
Museum Minute is a weekly video update produced by VMNH educators that highlights various displays within the museum’s exhibit galleries, while providing intriguing and little known facts about the specimens on display.
Tales of Ancient Life
Our planet has an incredible story to tell and VMNH Assistant Curator of Paleontology Dr. Adam Pritchard helps share it through his original video series, “Tales of Ancient Life”. Dr. Pritchard uses spectacular fossils and other scientific specimens from the museum’s paleontology collections to highlight the wonders of earth’s ancient past in ways that are both relevant and understandable to a wide variety of ages.
“Adapting new approaches to deliver quality STEM educational programming and enriching experiences for students, parents and our communities is critically important as we continue to grapple with the operational limitations for museums and other educational venues created by the pandemic,” said Boxley President Jeff Perkins. “We commend the Virginia Museum of Natural History staff for their continued commitment to fulfilling their mission under the most challenging of circumstances. Boxley is pleased to support this initiative.”
The museum’s virtual programming began in earnest as a response to the limitations of providing educational programs at the museum and in outreach settings due to COVID-19. The programming quickly became popular with audiences and museum officials believe that the popularity will continue to grow, even as in-person learning opportunities return.
“As the museum continues to increase its virtual offerings, we also anticipate a continued increase in demand for such programming,” said Christy Deatherage, VMNH education manager. “We especially anticipate an increase in demand for our distance learning programming in school settings from spring to fall 2021 and Boxley’s support will go a long way in helping ensure that we are able connect with students throughout Virginia.”
Homeschool educators interested in learning more about the museum’s Homeschool Science and Engineering Academy can visit www.vmnh.net/education/homeschool-education, or contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about other VMNH educational programming, 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 Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Due to COVID-19, the museum is currently open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 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.
With roots dating back to 1906, Boxley proudly supplies quality construction materials to communities throughout central and western Virginia essential in the construction of homes, schools, hospitals, buildings, and landscaping as well as the maintenance and construction of roads and bridges. Boxley is part of the Summit Materials family of companies.