Virginia War Memorial Sets New Annual Visitation Record
More Than 71,000 Visited Commonwealth’s Tribute
To Its Fallen Heroes During 2015
(Richmond, Va.) The Virginia War Memorial in Richmond attracted a record number of visitors during 2015.
According to Jon Hatfield, the Memorial’s Executive Director, 71,027 persons visited the Commonwealth’s tribute to its fallen heroes and military veterans between January 1 and December 31, 2015 – a 4.25% increase over 2014 attendance – and by far the largest number of visitors in the Memorial’s 60 year history.
“As we prepare to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the Virginia War Memorial on February 29, it is gratifying to see our visitation numbers continue to grow,” Hatfield said. “Not only are more and more of our fellow Virginians discovering the Memorial, last year we hosted visitors from almost every state in the Union and 57 foreign countries.”
Hatfield noted that before the addition and opening of the Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center in 2010, visitation at the Memorial never exceeded 22,000 annually. The 18,000 square- foot Galanti Education Center houses educational and military-related exhibits, classrooms, a research library, and two theaters which show the multi-dimensional film, Into Battle, and the award-winning Virginians at War documentary video series.
The Memorial is also home to the E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater and Shrine of Memory where thousands attend major events such as the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day, Patriot Day and Memorial Day Ceremonies each year. Over 50 educational and patriotic events and programs are now held at the Virginia War Memorial annually.
Hatfield attributed the growth in visitors to many factors, such as the public’s interest in honoring the men and women who have served and currently serve in our U.S. military, the marked increase in tourists who attended the international bicycle races held in Richmond in 2015 and who have discovered the area’s variety of historical and recreational sites and venues.
“We fully expect to exceed our goal of 100,000 visitors annually in the next few years,” Hatfield added. “We will break ground this year for the new addition to the Memorial. When construction is completed, we will add more than 19,500 square feet of additional exhibit, classroom, and meeting spaces, an underground parking deck, and expansion of the Shrine of Memory to honor all of Virginia’s fallen heroes.
About the Virginia War Memorial
The Virginia War Memorial’s mission is Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Instill Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism. The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who served in our military forces.
The Memorial is situated over four acres overlooking downtown Richmond and the James River at 621 South Belvidere Street (U.S. Routes 1 and 301). The Galanti Education Center is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, Noon-4 p.m. The Shrine of Memory and grounds are open daily from 5 a.m.-Midnight. For more information, please call 804.786.2060 or visit www.vawarmemorial.org or facebook.com /virginiawarmemorial.
About The Virginia War Memorial Foundation
Established in 2000, The Virginia War Memorial Foundation (VWMF) is the non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation dedicated to the financial support of all of the educational outreach, patriotic programs, historical exhibits and documentary films of the Virginia War Memorial. Donations to the Foundation from individuals, corporations, military and veterans groups and other organizations may be tax-deductible and are encouraged and appreciated. For more information, please visit www.vawarmemorial.org.