VA Museum of Natural History Considers Satellite in Waynesboro - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VA Museum of Natural History Considers Satellite in Waynesboro

Posted: Updated: Mar 27, 2014 10:23 PM

For those looking for a taste of culture in Waynesboro, there are options such as a museum featuring the works of artist P. Buckley Moss or the soon-to-be restored Wayne Theater. Right outside Waynesboro there's the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah National Park.

But as the city’s economic development director Greg Hitchin says, Waynesboro isn’t often considered a destination. But something that could make it one? Perhaps a satellite of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.

“The proposal here would be that we would explore the natural history, rich natural history, of this part of the Shenandoah Valley,” said Jim Shaw, Waynesboro’s assistant city manager.

Hitchin recognizes Waynesboro as a trout fishery, saying its mission aligns with that of the museum.

“Our direction is to have an interpretive center. Their direction is to take their collection to the commonwealth,” he said.

That could mean 60,000 visitors a year to Waynesboro and more than $1 million a year for the city’s economy.

With the completed feasibility study showing Waynesboro could support a museum, the next step is the schematic.

“It's for them to get an idea of what kind of exhibits the museum should hold,” Hitchin said.

The city has committed half the price, which is $25,000, the rest coming from private fundraising done right in town.

“The foundation board of the museum wants to test the excitement, enthusiasm and interest in the local community in having the museum here,” Shaw said.

It’s an indication that the museum is seriously considering Waynesboro.

“Although the decision to build a museum in Waynesboro has not been made because they don't have enough information to do that yet,” Hitchin said.

The city says they'd like to see the museum somewhere near downtown and the South River. It could be a brand-new 25,000-square-foot building or a rehabbed building, depending on the needs.

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