David Rubenstein Gives $10 Million to New Museum

David Rubenstein photo
January 20, 2016

David M. Rubenstein has donated $10 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s capital campaign. The museum, the Smithsonian’s 19th, will open to the public on September 24, 2016. Rubenstein’s gift brings the museum’s fundraising total to $252.45 million, 93.5 percent toward its goal of $270 million.

“This architecturally stunning museum occupies its rightful place of honor and prominence on the National Mall,” Rubenstein said. “This will be a place of learning, inspiration and healing. Designed to honor the important contributions to our country, over hundreds of years, of African Americans, it is a museum for all Americans to visit and appreciate. I am honored to be among the museum’s many supporters.”

In addition to the contribution, Rubenstein is loaning the museum two extraordinarily rare documents, both of which are signed by President Abraham Lincoln: the 13th Amendment, which officially ended the institution of slavery (1865), and the Emancipation Proclamation (1863). The Emancipation Proclamation is one of 48 signed by President Lincoln, but only about half of those have survived. The documents will be displayed in the inaugural exhibitions in the museum’s history galleries. 

In recognition of his generosity, the museum’s central exhibition space will be named the David M. Rubenstein History Galleries. The space will include three inaugural exhibitions—Slavery and Freedom, Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876–1968 and A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond.

Rubenstein is a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents’ executive committee,  co-chairs the Smithsonian Campaign and is on the boards for the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. He has supported the National Zoological Park, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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