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Maymont Awarded $8 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds for Tourism Investment from U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration

Richmond, Virginia – Yesterday, Maymont learned it has been awarded an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to promote and expand regional tourism and outdoor recreation in Virginia. This project is funded under EDA’s competitive American Rescue Plan Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation program, designed to accelerate the recovery of communities that rely on the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors.

A perennial top attraction for tourists to the Richmond area with more than 850,000 visitors last year, the nonprofit Maymont Foundation earned the grant for infrastructure improvements designed to enhance the guest experience and expand access to more visitors. The Foundation will supplement the dedicated funds with an additional $2 million raised through other sources to complete the projects. Specifically, the funds will help expand and enhance access to the native rescued wildlife habitats and restore the roof and upgrade the airflow and safety systems of the Maymont Mansion, ensuring long-term, resilient protection for the collections.

“Maymont is grateful for the strong support that our application received from so many local, state and regional officials,” said Parke Richeson, Executive Director of Maymont Foundation. “It’s a testament to the enduring love for Maymont held by our local community and the many hundreds of thousands of tourists to Maymont each year. Particularly during the pandemic, many people turned to Maymont as an outdoor refuge to connect with nature and animals of the Virginia ecosystem and to learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked at this historic estate over a century ago.”

Richeson added: “It’s an incredible opportunity to build on the work we’ve done recently to expand access and enrich the guest experience in new ways, preserving cultural artifacts and architecture, and engaging guests with rescued native wildlife. As we approach Maymont’s hundredth anniversary as a public space in 2025, this investment will ensure Maymont continues to delight, educate and inspire people for another hundred years.”

Maymont ranks as one of Central Virginia’s top attractions, recently earning Tripadvisor’s 2022 Travelers’ Choice Award, placing it among the top 10% of attractions worldwide. Located in the heart of Richmond, alongside a vibrant restaurant and shopping area, Maymont is a magnet for visitors interested in enriched outdoor experiences and connecting with our shared history.

The 100-acre estate offers walking paths through landscaped gardens and a historic arboretum, rescued wildlife habitats and an educational Nature Center that highlight Virginia’s native animals, farm animals and the James River ecosystem. In addition, a variety of curated audio tours and programs provide insight and connection with historical narratives from a century ago, cementing Maymont’s place in the center of Virginia’s rich cultural fabric. And with free admission to the grounds and outdoor wildlife habitats, no one is excluded from experiencing Maymont.

This investment builds on the work being completed this fall under a special 2020 Commonwealth grant to enhance the public’s appreciation of Virginia’s diverse history by creating immersive audio tours, braiding together the narratives of the people who worked and lived at Maymont, and opening a new welcome center and active learning classroom.

Maymont is a well-preserved, 100-acre historic estate overlooking the James River that was given to the public by James and Sallie Dooley, who lived there from 1893 to 1925. Today, Maymont is a welcoming community gathering place, with many unique experiences for all to enjoy, including the historic Maymont Mansion, The Robins Nature Center, an arboretum, formal gardens, and habitats for native Virginia wildlife and farm animals. Consistently ranked one of Central Virginia’s top attractions by travelers and locals alike, Maymont serves over 800,000 guests annually, with free admission to the grounds, plus guided and self-guided tours, seasonal events, programs and rental spaces. Since 1975, Maymont has been maintained and operated by the nonprofit Maymont Foundation, committed to creating programs and experiences that delight, educate and inspire its guests.  

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Note to editors: Photos are available upon request.