Jeff Bezos Gives $200 Million To The National Air and Space Museum

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and himself a budding astronautThe Smithsonian said Wednesday that the Smithsonian Institution has donated $200 million to the National Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian said the donation was the largest charitable gift since the Foundation’s founding gift from James Smithson in 1846.

The Smithsonian said $70 million will help renovate the building. National Air and Space MuseumAnother $130 million will be used for a new training center to be called the Bezos Learning Center. It will be built on the east side of the museum’s plaza on the National Mall. Bezos has donated to Smithsonian museums in the past.

“This historic gift will help the Smithsonian achieve its goal of reaching every classroom in America by creating a world-class learning center with access and inspiration at its heart,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, the Smithsonian’s secretary, in a statement. by the institution.

More than two decades ago, Amazon founder Bezos also founded a rocket company called Blue Origin. that candidate to be on tour Later this month, it will be Blue Origin’s first manned spaceflight.

“Every child is born with great potential, and it’s the inspiration that unlocks that potential,” Bezos said in a statement. “My love affair with science, invention, and space has done that for me, and I hope this gift will do the same for others.”

The gift comes as the country’s museum sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, with shutdowns and deep financial losses.

The Smithsonian’s museums were closed for several periods and lost revenue from shops and cafes, for example. Last year, the Smithsonian reported losses of $49 million in these operations between March and September and laid off more than 200 people. He has since started rehiring for some of these businesses as his museums. started to reopen. The National Air and Space Museum at the Mall is still closed and is scheduled to reopen on July 30.

The Smithsonian receives federal funding, which accounts for about two-thirds of its budget, and relies on large private donations and grants. It has suffered less than most other museums that rely much more heavily on ticket revenues.

Previous major charitable gifts include $65 million. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an Air and Space Museum outpost near Dulles airport. The Smithsonian also received $45 million for the Donald W. Reynolds Center, which houses the Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery.

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