Visitors prepare to fold a replica of the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired America's national anthem.

National Museum of American History

$120 Million goal

National Museum of American History

Our Goal: $120 Million

At the National Museum of American History, we are keepers of the objects and stories that bind us together as the most diverse country on Earth. The museum brings our nation’s rich history alive for millions of visitors each year. Gifts to the Smithsonian Campaign will enable us to double the size of our exhibition and programmatic spaces, as we engage visitors in the story of America.

National Museum of American History
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

Your National Museum of American History tells a rich and complex story of America that resonates in our lives today. We bring people together to explore our history — one grounded in freedom, possibility and opportunity, tempered by conflict and strengthened by dissent and difference. Furthermore, we inspire everyone to seek a more humane future for this country born from a time-tested experiment.

Today, the museum is creating transformative experiences, broadening perspectives and encouraging continued learning by making history alive, fascinating and instructive. How?

Through your generosity.

We are in the midst of a $120 million reinvention of our exhibitions and educational programs, which will be transmitted worldwide through many media platforms, on three floors of the museum’s west wing. In 2015, the wing’s first floor reopened, dedicated to innovation, business and creativity. In 2017 and 2018, the second and third floors will feature exhibitions about the peopling of America, nature of our democracy and breadth of American culture.

Join us to ensure that America’s museum offers a powerful, lasting experience for visitors, here and around the globe, for decades to come.

National Museum of American History
Campaign Case

Preserving and Presenting America’s Enduring Story

New Exhibitions
The National Museum of American History holds the national collection of more than 3 million objects and archival materials — national treasures as diverse as the citizens whose stories they tell.

From 2015-2018, the west wing will be transformed with new thematic exhibitions and programs organized around the ideas and ideals central to this nation’s development.

The first floor of the wing is dedicated to innovation, business and creativity. The peopling of America and complexity of democracy will be addressed on the second floor. The third floor will feature the breadth of American culture. Our top campaign priority is to raise funds for curatorial efforts on floors two and three.

As America’s largest history classroom, we have the ability to enrich the teaching and learning of history on a national scale. The new Innovation Wing will nurture creativity and an interest in American history among children and adults through Draper Spark!Lab, Places of Invention, Wegmans Wonderplace and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project. Gifts to fund hands-on activities, performances, conversations with historic characters and outreach with teacher training will enable learning by engaging visitors as though they were participants in history.

Endowment of new curatorial positions is a key element of our campaign. Investment in the museum’s intellectual foundation ensures the proper care of collections entrusted to us and enables us to create vibrant, new initiatives. A dedicated staff of experts allows the museum to share its scholarship and resources with the broadest possible audience across the nation and the world.

National Museum of American History

National Museum of American History

is raising $120 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal.

Campaign Priorities

West Wing Exhibitions

$80 Million

Funding opportunities totaling $80 million range from $50,000 for a collections-based endowment fund to a $5 million gift with naming recognition for initiatives such as the Hall of American Culture and the Hall of Music.

Education Initiatives

$20 Million

There are many ways to help us reach our goal of $20 million. Gift opportunities with naming recognition include $700,000 to endow a lecture series, and $2.5 million for Liberty Square, among other space and programs.

Endowing New Curatorial Positions

$20 Million

Securing $20 million for new positions in the west wing, through gifts at various levels, will allow a greater focus on several areas of our collections. For example, a $4 million gift with naming recognition will enable us to hire a curator in disciplines such as political history, women’s history, medicine and transportation. A $65,000 gift will fund a graduate fellowship to advance research.

National Museum of American History

A. James Clark



A. James Clark and The Clark Charitable Foundation

A. James Clark and The Clark Charitable Foundation

As a young engineering graduate in 1950, the late A. James Clark joined a small general contracting company that he would eventually own and transform into one of the nation’s largest privately held general contractors — Clark Construction Group, LLC. His work and philanthropy made a mark on cities across the country. In 2011, Mr. Clark established the A. James Clark Excellence in History Teaching Program at the National Museum of American History. The program transforms the teaching and learning of American history by introducing thousands of K-12 educators to exciting, effective techniques, powerful online tools and authentic content for their classrooms. In 2014, Mr. Clark’s commitment was renewed through The Clark Charitable Foundation’s gift of $5 million to endow the A. James Clark Director of Education Outreach position and fund the A. James Clark Excellence in History Teaching Program for an additional seven years, thereby ensuring his impact on teachers and students for generations to come. 

Wallace H. Coulter



Wallace H. Coulter and The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

Wallace H. Coulter and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

In the 1940s, an enterprising engineer named Wallace Coulter conceived the Coulter Principle, a revolutionary method for counting and sizing microscopic particles.  He founded Coulter Corporation in 1958, becoming a global market leader with instruments that forever changed the speed and accuracy of diagnostic testing.  Upon his death 40 years later, he created the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation to invest in scientific, medical and humanitarian initiatives.  The foundation generously provided the museum with a $5 million outright gift and a $5 million challenge grant, in 2013, toward the American Enterprise exhibition on the nation’s history of business and innovation.  Coulter’s story reflects the major themes of this exhibition, opening in summer 2015.  “Wallace treasured the unique nature of the United States as a land of opportunity,” explained Sue Van, the foundation’s trustee and president.  “He would have been proud to support this important project, which will inspire others to dream big and make a difference, as he did.”

Phyllis Taylor



Patrick F. Taylor Foundation

Phyllis Taylor and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation

When the museum presented a plan to the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation to creatively instill a sense of excitement about the nation’s history in school-aged Americans, it immediately stepped forward in support. The foundation was founded in 1985 by Phyllis Taylor and her late husband, Patrick, a successful oilman who formed Taylor Energy Company in 1979. Today, Mrs. Taylor serves as the company’s chairman and CEO. The foundation’s extraordinary commitment of $7.5 million in 2013 will help create and endow the Object Project in the museum’s new education center, opening in 2015, and establish an endowment for K-12 learning. In appreciation, the Object Project and both endowments will bear the foundation’s name. Support of K-12 learning will maximize outreach and provide a link from the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project to classrooms across America. National collections, touchable teaching objects, games and other activities will make learning about America’s innovative history more fun and relevant to children.

Fisk Johnson



SC Johnson

SC Johnson

From its humble beginnings as a small flooring company in 1886, SC Johnson has evolved into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household and shoe care products. The company has a long tradition of giving back to communities where it does business, and in the last 10 years alone has contributed more than $220 million to numerous philanthropic efforts. In 2013, SC Johnson pledged $5 million to the museum’s new American Enterprise exhibition and adjacent, state-of-the-art, 3,300-square-foot SC Johnson Conference Center, both opening in summer 2015. The conference center will serve as a venue for educational outreach where scholars, teachers and students can discuss historical topics of relevance today. Programs and activities in the space will explore innovation and be broadcast globally. “SC Johnson is pleased to support the Smithsonian and its American Enterprise exhibition because it celebrates the evolution of American business and its influence on our world today,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson.

National Museum of American History

Contact Us

National Museum of American History Campaign Officers

National Museum of American History Board

  • John B. Adams, Jr.
  • David E. Behring, Alumnus
  • A. Scott Berg
  • Ellsworth Brown, Alumnus
  • Charles F. Bryan, Jr., Ph.D, Alumnus
  • H.P. “Pete” Claussen, Alumnus
  • Theodore F. Craver, Jr.
  • Randy Falco
  • David M. Fields, Alumnus
  • Jeff Garrett
  • Lesley Herrmann, Ph.D., Alumnus
  • Irene Y. Hirano Inouye, Alumnus
  • Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
  • The Honorable Philip Lader, Alumnus
  • David Lauren
  • Dorothy Lemelson, Alumnus
  • Elizabeth (Betty) MacMillan, Alumnus
  • Randall Martinez
  • The Honorable Doris Matsui
  • Jon Meacham
  • James Mellor, Alumnus
  • Barry Meyer, Chairman, Nominating Committee
  • Paul Neely
  • Libby Haight O’Connell, Ph.D., Alumnus
  • Timothy J. O’Neill
  • Abbe Raven, Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Elihu Rose, Ph.D., Alumnus
  • David M. Rubenstein, Alumnus
  • Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.
  • The Honorable Ivan Selin, Ph.D., Alumnus
  • Andrew A. Shiva, Ph.D.
  • The Honorable Rodney E. Slater, Alumnus
  • The Honorable Nicholas F. Taubman, Chairman of the Board
  • Thomas Tull
  • Robert B. Uhler
  • Sue Van
  • Gail Berry West, Alumnus
  • Judy Woodruff, Alumnus

National Museum of American History

Total Goal:
$120 Million


$138.23 Million Raised

As of October 31, 2017

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