Frequently asked questions about museum collections
Why do I have to make an appointment to see museum artifacts?
Patrons are required to make an appointment to view collection items that are not on exhibit.
Museum artifacts are housed in various storage locations and staff need time to locate each
artifact and pull the item. Also, some artifacts require multiple staff members to retrieve them
because of size and/or condition. Depending on the nature and condition of the artifact, viewing will
frequently take place in museum office areas. Staff must remain with the object at all times.
Appointments allow us to prepare the artifact for viewing and provide an appropriate viewing
When I make an appointment, how will I know when a museum staff member can see me?
Your request will go to the collections manager, who will contact you to let you know that we have
received your request and also let you know which curator will contact you to schedule your appointment.
What happens if I am unable to locate an artifact in the catalog, but I know it is in your collection?
The catalog is a work in progress and some artifact records are not yet available online. We are
constantly adding material to the catalog. If you are unable to locate an item, please contact the Collections Manager who will respond
to your request within 72 hours and arrange an appointment to view the item, if desired.
If the location indicates "The Story of Virginia," where is that item?
"The Story of Virginia" is a long-term exhibition of Virginia history and contains hundreds
of artifacts. Artifacts on display in the galleries may be viewed by the public in its gallery setting without appointment.
May I request an appointment to view an object that is on display in a gallery?
Appointments are only made for objects in storage. If an artifact is on display in a gallery, staff are routinely unable to remove those objects from display.
May I order a digital image or a photographic copy of any object or image that I find on the online catalog?
Yes, please see our reproductions page.