This museum opened in 1936 in an English Renaissance-style building designed by Peebles and Ferguson architects. In May 2010 the museum opened its newly redesigned and expanded buildings; it is now the tenth-largest comprehensive art museum in the United States. It is also one of the most visitor-friendly: free admission, open till 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, shoulder bags allowed in the museum, and photography welcome even with with a flash.
The musueum has special collections of English silver (probably the best in America), Faberge (again, probably America’s best), South Asian art, and Art Deco and Art Nouveau works. Highlights from those particular holdings include silver work by Robert Garrard II, a 1903 Faberge Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, a Tamil Nadu Indian Shiva sculpture from the 10th to 11th centuries, and a chair by Carlo Bugatti.
Special exhibitions take into account these collections and the museum’s other holdings. They have included showings of German Expressionist art, Native American art from the collection, Matisse and Picasso in Paris, and photography and new media in South Africa since 1950.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Information
- Public Transportation: Accessible by bus (GRTC route 16 Westhampton, Grove Avenue stop)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Yes
- Hours: Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; other days: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Holidays (New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day): opens at 10 a.m. or noon; closes at 5 p.m.
- Admission: Free
- Subscription/Memberships: Memberships begin at $40 (discounts available for students, seniors, teachers, and Richmond locals). Member benefits include free tickets and previews for special exhibitions, invitations to members-only events, free parking in the VMFA Parking Deck during museum hours and events, 10% discount at museum shop and café, discounts on classes and programs, and discounts on tickets for performances.
- Other Benefits: At the $100 contributor level, you are eligible for a reciprocal membership to over 300 museums and institutions.