VMFA Information


The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts.

In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 40,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris, and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver, and French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting, and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan, and African art.

In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its history. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. 

Hours:  10-5 daily, and until 9:00 on Thursdays and Fridays.

Admission to permanent collection galleries is always free. The cost for special exhibitions and programs varies. Members enjoy free admission to all exhibitions and discounts on programs.

For details or questions on visiting the VMFA, please visit our website here.

History of the VMFA

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors in the midst of the Great Depression, on January 16, 1936.  But, its origins go back to to 1919 when Judge John Barton Payne donated his entire collection of 50 paintings to the commonwealth.  Other gifts followed and, in 1932, Judge Payne proposed a $100,000 challenge grant to build a museum for this growing public art collection. With the leadership of Virginia Governor John Garland Pollard, public and private funds were raised to support the museum’s operating expenses.  With additional funds from the federal Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Works Projects Administration), the museum opened in 1936. Since 1936, VMFA has been through five major expansions.

To read more on the history of the VMFA, please visit our website.