Foundation Projects


Bunny Hop 5K Run
September 12, 2020

The sixth “Bunny Hop” Run in Portsmouth follows the streets of Olde Towne and along the Elizabeth River. 
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Annual BBQ & Brew

Each year Portsmouth Museums Foundation hosts an informal function at Frogland Farms in Suffolk. More than 200 guests attend this fundraiser to support the Children's Museum of Virginia. A bluegrass band, silent auction and outstanding food make for a memorable and profitable event.


Museum Planetarium Seats

Each seat in our new Beazley Planetarium costs $400. We were very fortunate to have area Rotary clubs donate over half of the funding needed. Twenty-three out of sixty-three seats remain unsold. This provides a great opportunity for naming rights for a loved one, special event or a gift for friends and family. Donors will be listed on a plaque outside the entrance to the Planetarium.


15th Annual Elizabeth River Run
May 25, 2019

This event is always scheduled the Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend.  Runners participated in the ERR 10K, Crawford Street Mile and the Children's Museum Fun Run. Runners follow the exciting and scenic course through the streets of Olde Towne, along the Elizabeth River on Crawford Parkway and the grounds of the Naval Regional Medical Center.  The race is always followed by a post race celebration at Portsmouth Pavilion.  Proceeds in the past have benefitted the renovation and expansion of the Children's Museum.  Approximately $70,000 has been raised over the years by this one event.


The Coleman Collection at Winter Wonderland

Since 2004, the Coleman Collection has been featured in Olde Towne Portsmouth at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center during Winter Wonderland.  The Portsmouth Museums Foundation purchased the collection from Coleman Nursery in early 2004 and many volunteers worked long hours to restore the collection prior to the opening of the holiday season of that year.  Many favorites include Sleeping Santa, Victorian Skaters, Holidays around the World and the Snow Babies.  Fanciful elves prepare their treats at Santa’s Bakery and Candy Shop .  The nativity scene was sold to Monumental Methodist Church and is also displayed during the holiday season.

In 2015 the collection was sold to the City of Portsmouth.


Endowment Bricks

Endowment bricks are available for purchase for $200 per brick. These bricks are in the mall in front of the Children's Museum of Virginia.



Capital Campaigns

Several capital campaigns have been started and completed since 1992. The last one was completed in 2014. The Foundation has raised more than $10 million to benefit Portsmouth City Museums.



Lightship Portsmouth

The Portsmouth Museums Foundation completed the renovation of the Lightship Portsmouth in 2002 at an approximate cost of $600,000. The Lightship serves as a museum and is open for visitors in order that guests can experience life in the Lightship service and understand the purpose which lightships served.


Fresnel Lens Pavilion

The first order Fresnel Lens, the second Hog Island light, beautifully lights a path on Portsmouth's waterfront as its 250 prisms of optical glass, weighing 2,500 pounds, are aglow from its stately pavilion. It was originally capable of throwing a beam 20 miles. The Lens' size is only surpassed by the Lens located at Makapu'u Point, Hawaii. Its location near the High Street Ferry Landing is surrounded by the Fifth Coast Guard District Headquarters and the City of Portsmouth property overlooking the Elizabeth River, which portrays the extensive teamwork of the City and the Coast Guard to restore and put it on display. The groundbreaking for the installation of the pavilion took place on November 7, 2002 and its dedication took place a year later on November 5, 2003. The Fresnel Lens is valued between $750,000 - $1 million and is named after Augustus Fresnel, the French physicist who devised the optical system around 1822. The cost of refurbishing the lens (cleaning and adjusting each prism) and constructing the pavilion and grounds had a final cost of $548,000, paid for by Portsmouth Museums Foundation.


Benches & Chairs

The Portsmouth Museums Foundation sponsored a fund raising project which enabled individuals or groups to purchase a bench or chair to go throughout the Children's Museum. Ten benches and ten rocking chairs were sold including naming opportunities. Each piece has a brass plate indicating the name of the donor.


Birthday Party Room Tile Project

The Portsmouth Museums Foundation sponsored a "Decorate a Tile" project to benefit the NEW Children's Museum of Virginia. Tiles were available for $25.00 for non-members and $20.00 for members. Each participant created a tile that now hangs permanently in the museum in the birthday party rooms. Approximately 350 tiles were created in workshops held on five different Saturdays prior to completion of the Children's Museum. The "Decorate a Tile" project was the perfect way to create a permanent legacy in the new museum.