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VMNH Board Of Trustees Elects New Chair And Officers

The Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) Board of Trustees has elected Jennifer H. Burnett, of South Boston, as board chair. Burnett has served on the board since 2015 and previously served as treasurer. Burnett succeeds Dr. Thomas R. Benzing, who served as board chair since 2019.

Additionally, the board of trustees has:

  • elected Lisa Moerner, of Richmond, as vice chair
  • elected Roberto Quinones, of McLean, as treasurer
  • reappointed Nathan Sanford, of Blue Ridge, as secretary

All officer terms are for a period of 2 years.

“The Virginia Museum of Natural History is in the midst of an exciting time of unprecedented success and growth,” said Burnett. “Throughout my tenure as chair, I look forward to working with my fellow trustees, museum staff, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History Foundation as we look to increase recognition of the museum for its statewide value to scientific research and education.”

Burnett is a shareholder at Clement Wheatley Law Firm where her practice focuses primarily on business law, business and commercial transactions, and commercial real estate.

The board has also welcomed two new trustees. Anne Axton Burnett, of Henrico, and Mark J. Buss, of Manakin-Sabot, were both recently appointed to the board by Governor Ralph Northam for 5 year renewable terms. Trustees re-appointed to the board include Jennifer Burnett, of South Boston, Cord Cothren, of Danville, and Melany Stowe, of Ridgeway.

Despite the pandemic, the museum continues to reach new levels of success, including recently being named a finalist for the prestigious 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. In total, 15 museums and 15 libraries are finalists for the award, which is the nation’s highest honor given annually to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities.

Additionally, the museum continues to move forward with its plans to build a campus in Waynesboro near the south entrance to the Shenandoah National Park.

To be located at the corner of W. Main and Arch Streets in Downtown Waynesboro, VMNH-Waynesboro will contain approximately 20,000 square feet of exhibits, classrooms, and visible laboratories, as well as a planned green roof overlooking South River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The facility will highlight many of the characteristics that make the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley a distinctive region, with particular focus being placed on the region’s ecology, paleontology, and cultural history.

For more information about the Virginia Museum of Natural History Board of Trustees, visit

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