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Virginia Marine Science Museum

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1982–1986, Shriver and Holland with E. Verner Johnson Associates. 1994–1996, remodeling and expansion, E. Verner Johnson and Associates. 717 General Booth Blvd.
  • Virginia Marine Science Museum (Jason R. Waicunas)
  • Virginia Marine Science Museum (Richard Guy Wilson)

The short-lived deconstructivist movement of the early 1990s inspired the exterior of this delightfully sculptural building. Positioned on a narrow strip of land between General Booth Boulevard and Owl Creek, the museum resembles a large and colorful container ship pulling into dock. The focal point of the entrance driveway is a dramatically suspended steel canopy that shields a swimming pool for seals, giving the visitor a glimpse of the many live exhibits within the building. Splashing fountains line the entrance walk to the right; to the left, the enormous concrete bulk of the museum's theater is relieved by brightly colored, corrugated metal panels and stainless steel buttresses that support a six-story IMAX projection screen. Together, the combination of colors and shapes communicates abstractly the excitement of scientific discovery. Although a relatively young institution, the museum is already one of the commonwealth's most popular tourist attractions. Another major expansion is in the planning stage.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Virginia Marine Science Museum", [Virginia Beach, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 458-458.

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