Wild type, mutant, and chemically modified Cowpea mosaic viruses (CPMV) were studied for long term preservation in the presence and absence of cryoprotectants. Viral complexes were reconstituted and tested via fluorescence spectroscopy and a UV/vis-based RNase assay for structural integrity. When viruses lyophilized in the absence of cryoprotectant were rehydrated and RNase treated, UV absorption increased, indicating that the capsids were damaged. The addition of trehalose during lyophilization protected capsid integrity for at least 7 weeks. Measurements of the fluorescence peak maximum of CPMV lyophilized with trehalose and reconstituted also indicate that the virus remained intact. Microarray binding assays indicated that CPMV particles chemically modified for use as a fluorescent tracer were intact and retained binding specificity after lyophilization in the presence of trehalose. Thus, we demonstrate that functionalized CPMV nanostructures can be stored for the long term, enabling their use in practical sensing applications.