Northam signs executive order transferring Virginia Museum of Natural History to Secretary of Education

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Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Thirty-One, transferring responsibility and oversight of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) from the Secretary of Natural Resources to the Secretary of Education.

Founded in 1984 and located in Martinsville, Virginia, the VMNH was established to investigate, preserve, and exhibit various elements of natural history found in Virginia and other parts of the United States and the world. The state museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, encourages and promotes research in the varied natural heritage of the Commonwealth and beyond.

“Virginia is home to some of the finest state-funded arts and cultural institutions in the country,” said Governor Northam. “Integrating the Virginia Museum of Natural History into the robust network of other museums, colleges, and universities will better support its mission and help facilitate more partnerships, expanding the reach of the museum’s resources for citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth.”

The VMNH has award-winning exhibits, ground-breaking scientific research and collections, and transformational educational programs for all ages. The museum has developed a strong reputation for significant research and important collections, which now number more than 10 million cataloged items.

“We are thrilled to have the Virginia Museum of Natural History,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Education is our mission and its statewide outreach education and distance learning programs, resources and traveling exhibits will enable us to reach more learners than ever and encourage them to think in a global context that is relevant to all Virginians.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with the museum and better educate the public on how our natural systems and wildlife play a vital role in all facets of life and civilization,”said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler. “We will continue to work with the museum and Secretary Qarni’s office to support its significant research and important collections.”

The full text of Executive Order Thirty-One can be found here.

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