Jeff Bezos Gives $200 Million to National Air and Space Museum

Jeff Bezos, the founding father of Amazon and himself a budding astronaut, is giving $200 million to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian stated Wednesday. The Smithsonian stated the donation is its greatest philanthropic present because the Institution’s founding present from James Smithson, in 1846.

The Smithsonian stated $70 million will assist with the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum, and $130 million might be used for a brand new schooling middle, to be referred to as the Bezos Learning Center. That might be constructed on the east facet of the museum’s plaza on the National Mall. Bezos has been a previous donor to Smithsonian museums.

“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,” Lonnie G. Bunch, the secretary of the Smithsonian, stated in a press release issued by the establishment.

Bezos, the founding father of Amazon, additionally based a rocket firm, Blue Origin, greater than 20 years in the past. He is slated to be on a visit later this month in what can be Blue Origin’s first human spaceflight.

“Every child is born with great potential, and it’s inspiration that unlocks that potential,” Bezos stated within the assertion. “My love affair with science, invention and space did that for me, and I hope this gift does that for others.”

The present comes because the nation’s museum sector has been hit laborious by the pandemic, with closures and deep monetary losses.

The Smithsonian’s museums have been closed for a number of intervals and misplaced income they generate themselves, from retailers and cafes, for instance. Last yr, the Smithsonian reported losses of $49 million on these operations between March and September, and laid off greater than 200 folks. It has since begun to rehire for a few of these jobs as its museums have begun reopening. The National Air and Space Museum on the Mall continues to be closed and is scheduled to reopen on July 30.

The Smithsonian receives federal funding that accounts for about two-thirds of its funds, and advantages from giant non-public donations and grants. It has suffered lower than most different museums, which rely to a a lot better extent on ticket income.

Previous giant philanthropic presents embrace $65 million for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an Air and Space Museum outpost close to Dulles airport. The Smithsonian additionally acquired $45 million for the Donald W. Reynolds Center that homes its American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery.