Tell America's Story

William H. Gross at the National Postal Museum gallery opening

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William H. Gross

Philanthropist Opens World's Largest Stamp Gallery 

As a result of one man's passion, the National Postal Museum dedicated a 12,000-square-foot gallery displaying the nation's stamp collection on September 22, 2013. "The American public deserves the best home possible to display its history, and, in this case, its history as told through stamps," Gross says. His gift made the gallery possible. "I hope we can attract a broader audience and get visitors interested in collecting or just learning more about history."

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Gus and Deanne Miller

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Gus and Deanne Miller

Exemplifying the American Experience

Gus Miller exemplifies the American dream. He founded the Miller Oil Company, but was driven to do more. He and his wife, Deanne, started a foundation. He served on the Smithsonian National Board and is chair of the advisory board for the Smithsonian Libraries. The Millers now have established the Augustus and Deanne Miller Acquisitions Fund for the American Experience section at the Libraries. “The history of our country and its growth is very important to future generations,” Miller says. “Deanne and I feel it is imperative we protect these collections.”

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Groundbreaking ceremony, National Museum of African American History and Culture

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NMAAHC Stuyvesant Heights

Every Gift Tells a Story

Grade-schoolers from Brooklyn's Stuyvesant Heights Montessori raised more than $600 in change for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. They presented their gift to museum Founding Director Lonnie Bunch and were greeted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the museum's groundbreaking ceremony on February 22, 2012.  

 

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Richard Russell

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Richard Russell

Veteran Honors Those Special to Him

In memory of those who flew with him in WW II, Richard Russell established a charitable remainder trust for the National Air and Space Museum—a meaningful gift to the museum, which provides income for Russell and his beneficiaries. To honor his late wife, he created another planned gift to benefit the National Zoological Park and the National Museum of Natural History. "You do as much as you can for society. Philanthropy made this country, and the Smithsonian shows us just how great we can be," he says.

 

 

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Ken Chenault

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Kenneth Chenault

Giving Back, Making A Difference

In his job as chairman and CEO of American Express and in his philanthropic service and giving, Ken Chenault leads by example. He serves on the National Museum of African American History and Culture Council and is chair of the museum's Campaign. He and his wife Kathryn have given a gift for the design and construction of the museum. American Express is a Founding Donor to the museum as well. “The museum speaks of hope, it speaks of struggles and it speaks of dreams,” Chenault says. 

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David and Alice Rubenstein's generous philanthropy has supported Smithsonian history, art and science. 

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David and Alice Rubenstein

A Smithsonian for Today, Tomorrow and Forever

David Rubenstein and his wife Alice are philanthropists with a passion for American history. At the Smithsonian, they have funded the renovation of the Renwick Gallery, a landmark building in the style of the Louvre, which is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Rubensteins' gift is among many they have made to restore important American landmarks, such as the Washington Monument, the National Archives and Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home. They also have given to the National Museum of American History to renovate the exhibition space for the iconic Star-Spangled Banner. And their gifts to the National Zoo fund giant panda conservation efforts in China, the Zoo’s giant panda exhibit, reproduction science and the establishment of a multi-generational herd of Asian elephants. In addition, the couple established a fellowship program to advance the Encyclopedia of Life initiative at the National Museum of Natural History. “When I come to the Smithsonian, I see the world,” David Rubenstein said. “I see the history of the United States. The Smithsonian Campaign will make sure that my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren will be able to visit the Smithsonian. It also will ensure that Smithsonian doesn’t become a relic; it will be as up to date as anything in America.”

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Marilyn L. Brown and Douglas N. Morton. Photo Karen Rubin

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Brown, Marilyn L. and Morton, Douglas N.

A Treasure to Hold in Trust for All 

The simple silk suit, originally a plum color and now faded to brown, still speaks clearly of its owner, Benjamin Franklin. Worn on a trip to France in 1778, Franklin knew the garment’s understated elegance would stand out in the opulent French court, symbolizing the new nation. Douglas N. Morton and his wife, Marilyn L. Brown, helped the Smithsonian acquire this treasure. Morton is a descendant of Betsy Ross and lifelong student of American history. “Seeing Franklin’s suit on display is like having a Founding Father in front of you. Visitors come to the Smithsonian to see the objects that tell the story of the United States. I hope these treasures inspire people to learn more about our nation’s heritage,” says Morton.

 

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