Vanadium oxide supported on alumina, silica, titania, zirconia, and other oxides is one of the most extensively studied catalyst materials. The catalytic performance of supported vanadia has been investigated for a variety of hydrocarbon transformations, especially the oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes and the oxidation of methanol in order to establish the relationship between the chemical and structural nature of supported vanadia and its catalytic function. In recent years new physical methods, especially Raman spectroscopy at multiple excitation wavelengths and x-ray standing wave measurements, have been applied to supported vanadia model systems. These measurements have revealed additional details and complexity in the structure and electronic properties of supported vanadium oxide that depend on the vanadium surface density and preparation conditions. This presentation will provide an overview of recent results and interpretations.