Billionaire Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space company Blue originwill donate $ 200 million to the Smithsonian Institution, announced Wednesday (July 14). This is the largest donation to the Smithsonian Institution since the founding of James Smithson in 1846.
The Smithsonian Institution is “the world’s largest museum, educational and research facility,” according to the organization’s website. That $ 200 million donation will be split: $ 70 million will go to renovate the National Air and Space Museum and $ 130 million will go towards a new education center at the main Smithsonian Museum on National Mall in Washington, DC. Bezos Learning Center due to donation.
“The Smithsonian has a vital role to play in igniting the imaginations of our future builders and dreamers,” Bezos said of the Smithsonian and his donation. in a statement… “Every child is born with great potential, and this inspiration unleashes that potential. My love for science, invention and space has done it for me, and I hope this gift will do the same for others. “
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“The gift will also help drive the technological transformation of the museum’s galleries and public spaces, including creating new interactive experiences that will inspire visitors, students, teachers and families,” the Smithsonian said in a statement.
A new education center will be built on the flagship site of the Smithsonian Museum along with ongoing museum renovations. The new center will focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) topics. According to the same statement, the museum will have programs designed to inspire young visitors to explore STEAM careers, and it will link to all Smithsonian museums to include experts from across the Smithsonian and include a variety of STEAM-related collections.
“Since its inception, the Smithsonian Institution has benefited from both federal funding and the generosity of visionary donors,” Smithsonian secretary Lonnie Bunch said in the same statement. “This historic gift will help the Smithsonian meet its goal of reaching all classrooms in America by creating a world-class learning center built on access and inspiration. We are grateful to Jeff for his generosity, as well as his passion and commitment to education, innovation and technology. This donation will fuel the future leaders and innovators of our country. ”
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“Right now, the first person to walk on Mars may be in elementary school,” said Ellen Stofan, Smithsonian undersecretary for science and research and former director of the National Air and Space Museum, in the same statement.
“As the largest and most visited aerospace museum in the world, the museum wants to rekindle this passion and enrich the imagination and ingenuity of every student who attends the Smithsonian. Over the years, Jeff has been an ardent supporter of the Smithsonian Institution and museum affairs. mission “light tomorrow”. With this gift, we can continue our transformation and further expand the capabilities of the National Air and Space Museum to unleash the possibilities of space exploration, ”added Stofan.
Also on Wednesday, Blue Origin announced that give away $ 1 million to 19 space non-profit organizationsincluding the Martian Society and the Planetary Society. These donations are made through Blue Origin’s non-profit, Club for the Future. Donations are coming in as Bezos prepares to add “astronaut” to his list of titles.
On Tuesday (July 20), Bezos, along with his brother Mark, the legendary aviator Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen will fly into space aboard Blue Origin. New Shepard suborbital vehicle. The crew will fly over the edge of space and then return to Earth.
This crewed suborbital flight will the first of its kind for the company and will test the capabilities of the rocket and spacecraft as the company works on regular crewed launches on New Shepard, which will take paid passengers on an unforgettable journey. This launch will follow Virgin galacticsuccessful suborbital test flight with crew Unity 22, held last Sunday (July 11), during which the billionaire, the founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, went to space and back.
Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@ or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.