Plans to build branch of Virginia Museum of Natural History in Waynesboro on hold due to pandemic

Plans to build branch of Virginia Museum of Natural History in Waynesboro on hold due to pandemic

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Museum of Natural History is on the cusp of putting a satellite branch in downtown Waynesboro, but now those plans are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday night, Dr. Joe Keiper, the Executive Director of the Virginia Museum of History based in Danville, was in Waynesboro speaking at the Wayne Theatre Tuesday.

Keiper shared a detailed plan of the future place-based museum, which is expected to share stories specific to the area and include local biodiversity.

With the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive nearby, Keiper says the Waynesboro branch could reach even more people.

“This is gonna be the most awesome project when it’s done. I mean, I think people are gonna love it,” Keiper stated. “It’s gonna be exciting, not just for the children, but it’s also gonna be exciting for tourists to come and learn and that’s gonna be great for this area of the state because tourists are a great revenue stream and we hope to reach so many people with this branch.”

The project is expected to cost $21 million. The General Assembly approved funding for the museum, but Keiper says the museum is on hold like all capital projects due to the COVID-19 emergency.

When funding moves forward Keiper says they’ll finalize the design then hand it over to contractors to break ground.

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