The Virginia History Federation was incorporated in 1968 to promote and support Virginia’s historical museums and sites; it was granted 501(c)3 status by the IRS in 1969. In 1978, the name was changed to the Virginia History and Museums Federation to reflect the broadening of its mission to include all museum disciplines. The name was changed once more, in 1980, to the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) to further establish its identity as an organization whose purpose is education and support for all museums and similar cultural institutions in the Commonwealth.
Today, it is the largest state museum service organization in the United States, with over 2,500 members. VAM focuses its efforts on professional and career development opportunities for museum professionals and advocacy at the state and national levels. VAM has taken the lead in providing Virginia’s museums with the tools necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century, and make constructive and adaptive changes to improve the stewardship of our historic and cultural heritage. It is a network of museum staff and volunteers who work together to promote professionalism in the museum field.