Where Virginia Ranks Among Best States For Museum Enthusiasts

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Virginia is one of America’s most history-rich states, with world-class educational institutions and a penchant for art and nature dating back centuries.

So we took a break from analyzing Virginia sports betting to take a closer look at the cultural attractions available in the state.

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When Is International Museum Day?

May 18 is International Museum Day, a day in which we recognize and celebrate our beloved cultural institutions dedicated to a wide variety of subjects. Using data from 2018 Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Data Files, we calculated the number of museums, botanical gardens, planetariums and zoos per square mile in each state, then ranked the states.

Of course, many Virginia residents are close to Washington D.C., and the nation’s capital is an obvious cultural powerhouse with museums and architecture to enthrall visitors of any age or interest.

But there are plenty such places in Virginia. In fact, it ranks 12th in the United States, according to our data, with 221 museums, zoos, planetariums and botanical gardens in its 42,774 square miles. That’s 51.67 such institutions per 10,000 square miles.

States Ranked By Most Museums Per Square Mile

Rank, StateNo. of MuseumsArea (sq. miles)Museums per 10,000 sq. mi.
1. Rhode Island441,545284.79
2. Massachusetts22310,554211.29
3. Connecticut1065,543191.23
4. New Jersey1488,722169.69
5. Delaware282,489112.50
6. Maryland13812,405111.24
7. New York48554,55488.90
8. Pennsylvania32246,05469.91
9. Ohio25944,82557.78
10. Hawaii6210,93156.72
11. New Hampshire509,34953.48
12. Virginia22142,77451.67
13. Florida33565,75750.90
14. Illinois 27157,91346.79
15. California739163,69445.15
16. Vermont409,61641.60
17. Indiana14636,41940.08
18. South Carolina10532,02032.79
19. Tennessee12742,11430.13
20. Georgia17259,42528.94
21. Kentucky11140,40727.47
22. Wisconsin17665,49626.87
23. Washington17471,29724.40
24. Alabama11652,42022.13
25. Michigan21296,71321.92
26. Iowa12256,27221.68
27. Maine 7635,37921.48
28. West Virginia4924,23020.22
29. Louisiana10552,73819.90
30. Missouri13169,70618.79
31. Texas448268,59616.68
32. Minnesota13986,93515.99
33. Colorado160104,09315.37
34. North Carolina209139,39114.99
35. Oklahoma9269,98813.16
36. Mississippi6048,43112.38
37. Kansas9882,27811.91
38. Oregon11798,37811.89
39. Nebraska8077,34710.34
40. Utah6684,8967.77
41. South Dakota5577,1157.13
42. Idaho5683,5686.70
43. New Mexico75121,5906.17
44. Wyoming5197,8135.21
45. Arkansas70137,7325.08
46. Montana73147,0394.96
47. Arizona127295,2344.30
48. Nevada45110,5714.07
49. North Dakota36183,1081.97
50. Alaska43665,3840.65

Mount Vernon Tops List of Virginia Museums

To show the variety of institutions on our list, the top museum in Virginia is not dedicated to art, nor is it a zoo. Rather, it is the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, at least according to TripAdvisor rankings.

Mount Vernon was the home of America’s first president, George Washington. In addition to Washington’s mansion and grounds, the facility also has a museum and an education center. George Washington and his wife, Martha, are buried on the estate.

Other notable museums in the state include several in Richmond – highlights include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the American Civil War Museum. Virginia also boasts the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle and the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, plus the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

Those inclined to use the best Virginia sports betting apps might take an interest in the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, which according to its website is mainly concerned with “sharing the literature, art and culture of equestrian, angling, and field sports.”


Jim Tomlin has nearly 30 years of experience in journalism, having worked at such publications as the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturdays Down South and Saturday Tradition. He is a contributing writer and editor for BetVirginia.com.

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