Tuesday, September 25, 2012

We’re busy as bees here at the Virginia Discovery Museum! We are so excited to show you all of our
changes when we reopen on Friday.

Thanks to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, we’re adding fun new educational elements to our
Virginia Heritage area. We know that our young visitors have enjoyed the animals in our stable, and now
they will have a chance to learn more about them. What does a pig, donkey, or chicken feel like? You’ll
soon find out.

An apple orchard is sprouting in our back gallery! Staff and dedicated volunteers are readying our
orchard just in time for this perfect fall weather. One thing unique about these apples – you can pick
them again and again.

We can’t wait to unveil our new “Little Charlottesville!” If you’ve loved dress-ups at the museum in the
past, we’ve got some wonderful surprises in store for you.

Our staff members have been working tirelessly to make these changes happen. Covered in paint
smudges from nose to toes, they have so much to keep in mind – all of these renovations must be fun,
educational, and safe for little ones. The most important project occurs near the end of renovations:
making sure that all those little nails and screws have found their way back to the tool boxes! Wood is
sanded and rough edges are smoothed before opening day.

Our open studio, normally filled with craft materials and art projects, is home to our supplies for all of
these renovations. It is here that staff members keep tools and paint organized. Need a pencil, tape
measure, drill, or paintbrush? The Open Studio is like a mini hardware store this week.

With all of the fabulous murals going up on our walls, the museum has never been more fun and
colorful. These murals will be wonderful inspiration for all of budding artist visitors we love so much.

Closing to the public also gives us a chance to do some really deep cleaning. Our hallway is being
powerwashed and sealed.

Thanks for your patience as we undergo our most extensive renovations in recent memory. We hope to
see all of our museum friends on opening day!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day of Caring (Recap)

Day of Caring was so awesome that it deserves two blog posts!

We had volunteers working high... 
 (repairing and painting the ceiling)

...and low...
 (staining the new water well for the Virginia Heritage Area)

(cleaning the inside of A-Mazing Airways)

 ...and outside!
 (washing windows)

Our incredible volunteers got so much done, from cleaning all of the walls and exhibits in the front gallery to some substantial construction in the back gallery. As Jamie told me when we were looking for yet another clean brush, "Everyone and their dog is painting!" and today everything looks great with its fresh coat.

Another huge shout out to our volunteer groups, from DIA (who left before we took a group picture) and these smiling faces from UVA Pharmacy. 

Thank you all! You are awesome!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day of Caring (Sneak Peek)

Today was United Way's Day of Caring, so we had dozens of volunteers with a military group from DIA as well as UVA Pharmacy. They were a huge help- cleaning, painting, constructing, installing- and all so fast! Huge thank yous to all of our volunteers- you are awesome!

We got so much done today, and now I am very tired! Check back tomorrow for a more detailed recap!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Panera's Progress

Panera is building a roof awning just like you see at the real bakery, except ours is miniature and in our back gallery! So far, it has gone from this empty space...

To some framing (hi friends!)...

 To a complete structure!

Doesn't it look great? It's pretty cool to see the progress they are making in just a few days. 

Keep checking back to see where it goes from here!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Joia Tubes

 We are saying goodbye to our old, out of tune pipe organ. It has had various homes around the Museum for the past several years, most recently in the Discovery Garage. We like having somewhere to play music, though, so it is being upgraded.

These are Joia Tubes. They are color coded, light up, and most importantly, in tune! Visitors will be able to play songs by following the notes labeled on the tubes or just make a joyful noise.

The way that the tubes light up is fun for all, but especially great for our hearing impaired visitors. Watching the colors can give us all another view of music.

Since we put them together, staff and volunteers have already been having fun testing them out. Some of us are more musically talented than others, though!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Saturdays are often our busiest days, and just because we're closed, that didn't change. We were busy repairing and painting the walls- much of the back gallery has blue base coats for Ron Paris's beautiful murals, while another wall is green and awaiting a giant mirror.

Also in the back gallery, we are missing our bees. They have gone to the beekeeper's house while we're in the middle of construction. They don't love all the noise and excitement of the tools, so they get to go on vacation. They will be back before we reopen, in a brand new observation hive. The Hall family, who have taken care of our bees for many years, are building a beautiful new home for our favorite honey-making friends. There will also be a farmer's market where you can sell fall produce that grows with the help of bees, like apples, pumpkins and pears.

We can't wait for you to see it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


 Demo is short for demolition, which means we've been taking everything apart! Do you even recognize these areas anymore?
 All of the signs from the hallway were taken down right away. Our friend Joel, who built our new bathrooms, is managing this project, too. It had to get started so that his friends could get started on their projects this morning. Doesn't it look brighter already?

 This morning held surprises in the back gallery, too! Where'd the wall go?

Today will be more painting and cleaning, as well as replacing light bulbs and moving more exhibit pieces. Check back tomorrow for the next update!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Closed for Renovations

We're starting up the blog again to give you a behind the scenes look at what we are doing over the next 13 days to renovate the exhibits at the Museum. My name is Kaitlin and I will be writing these updates to give you a sneak peek of what goes on behind our closed doors.

As soon as we close tonight, it's all hands on deck to demo! We'll be taking everything out of the back gallery, including some of the walls, and taking down everything in the rainforest hallway. We are all so excited to start!

Our visitors have enjoyed hanging out with Rapunzel, the three bears, and all the other storybook characters, and it will be sad to paint over Ron Paris's beautiful murals. Knowing that he will be here to paint new ones should make it easier- and exciting to see what else he's got up his sleeves!

Keep checking back here for updates and we hope to see you when we reopen on Friday, September 28th!