September 25, 2023

VMFA Offers Free Admission to Terracotta Army Exhibit


Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe 

November 28, 2017

Dear State Employees: 

I am pleased to announce that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will offer state employees free admission to Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, a highly anticipated exhibition that opened at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) on November 18, 2017.

This outstanding exhibition is a must see for everyone. 

VMFA’s special offer ensures that you and your families have an opportunity to see this story of the First Emperor’s profound influence on Chinese history, art, and culture. Ten life-size terracotta figures, including warriors and a cavalry horse, will be featured in the exhibition, which will be on display until March 11, 2018.  

Admission to VMFA’s permanent collection is free every day of the year; some special exhibitions, such as Terracotta Army, require a fee. To claim your free ticket (one per employee) to Terracotta Army, present your employee identification card at VMFA’s Visitor Services desk. Family members will get half off exhibition tickets, or $10 for adults; $8 for seniors; and $5 for children.  

As part of this special offer, you also can present your ID card for discounts on dining and shopping at VMFA: a 20 percent discount on purchases in Best Café and the VMFA Shop, and a 10 percent discount at Amuse restaurant until March 11, 2018. The discount also applies to family members. 

Terracotta Army will showcase 130 works of art, drawn from the collections of 14 art museums and archaeological institutes across the Shaanxi Province in China. The exhibition will tell how the Qin state developed into an empire under Ying Zheng (259–210 BC), who unified China and declared himself Qin Shihuang, or the First Emperor of Qin. His quest for immortality began soon after he became the king of Qin in 246 BC. 

The terracotta figures to be on view belong to an underground army of life-size sculptures created by order of the First Emperor to accompany him to the afterlife. The terracotta army was not discovered until 1974, when farmers found pottery shards and bronze arrows while digging a well. Subsequent excavations led to the astonishing discovery of an estimated 8,000 terracotta figures buried in three pits east of the First Emperor’s tomb mound. 

An interactive exhibition in VMFA’s Memorial Foundation for Children Teaching Gallery, Dig It! complements the Terracotta Army exhibition and offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to explore the field of archaeology through the use of augmented reality. Focusing on discovery, excavation, and lab study, Dig It! encourages visitors to uncover objects in VMFA’s permanent collection through a virtual dig and learn more about their date, function, and how archaeology contributes to the study of objects from ancient China. Dig It! is free and open to the public until July 2018. 

Regular ticket prices for Terracotta Army are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for college students and children ages 7–17. Tickets are free for VMFA members and children ages 6 and younger. Visitors can reserve tickets by phone at (804) 340-1405. 

More information about Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is available at 

I hope you are able to attend this amazing exhibit. 


Governor Terry McAuliffe