Bezos donates $200M to Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum

Jeff Bezos is donating $200 million to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The museum announced on Wednesday that with the donation, Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon and the founder of aerospace and space flight company Blue Origin, is making the largest gift the Smithsonian has received since its founding gift from James Smithson in 1846.

The donation will go toward two initiatives: $70 million will support the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum, and $130 million will be used to launch a new education center at the museum.

“The Smithsonian plays a vital role in igniting the imaginations of our future builders and dreamers,” Bezos said in a statement.

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

The education center will be located in a new facility on the museum’s plaza, which is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It will include programs and activities that the museum hopes will “inspire students to pursue innovation and explore careers in STEAM” fields: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

It will be named the Bezos Learning Center, in honor of the donation.

The gift will also help facilitate a “technological transformation” of the galleries and public spaces in the museum, such as creating new interactive experiences to “inspire visitors,” according to a press release.

“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,” Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch said in a statement

“We are grateful to Jeff for his generosity and for his passion and commitment to education, innovation and technology. This donation will fuel our nation’s future leaders and innovators,” he added.

Bezos, the richest person in the world, will launch into space later this month on the first human flight for New Shepard, the rocket created by Blue Origin.

He will fly to space with his brother Mark. He said he has dreamed of taking a trip into space since he was five years old.

Bezos switched positions at Amazon last week, moving from the company’s CEO to its executive chairman. Andy Jassy, who was previously the CEO of Amazon Web Services, took over as the chief executive of the company.

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