National Museum of American History
$140.3 Million raised
America’s Bold Experiment
The National Museum of American History holds a national collection of more than 3 million historical treasures as diverse as the citizens whose stories they tell.
During the Smithsonian Campaign, the museum raised more than $134 million to fund a major transformation, significantly expand educational programs and endow critical scholarly positions.
Campaign gifts enabled the museum to reimagine its West Wing, which began to reopen in phases in 2015, to present exhibitions on American ideas and ideals. The wing has new galleries, interior public plazas and performance spaces. Mars, Incorporated; SC Johnson; Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; Linda and Pete Claussen; and Ambassador Nicholas F. and Mrs. Eugenia L. Taubman were among the major donors.
The museum also created several new education spaces and programs, made possible by Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. The LeRoy Neiman Foundation supported the jazz café’s renovation.
Endowed curatorial and programmatic positions were made possible by Elizabeth and Whitney MacMillan, Lilly Endowment Inc., David M. Rubenstein and the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation.
The museum’s American Enterprise project—which includes a major exhibition on the arc of labor, power, wealth, success and failure in the United States over 300 years—benefited from major gifts from Mars, Incorporated; the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; SC Johnson; Intel; Monsanto; and the United Soybean Board.
The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the largest single donor to the museum’s campaign, gave a total of $12.5 million, including a $10 million gift for the American Enterprise project and a $2.5 million gift toward Unity Square, a public programs space. It also supported the Many Voices, One Nation and American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith exhibitions, exploring the peopling of the nation and civic engagement, respectively.
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.
Preserving and Presenting America’s Enduring Story
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
is raising $120 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal.
West Wing Exhibitions
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.
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
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.