African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in the Rotunda

Smithsonian researchers collect samples of Curaçao’s deep reefs in the southern Caribbean.

Rendering of the museum's new Fossil Hall

National Museum of Natural History

$224.2 Million raised

National Museum of Natural History

Exploring Earth’s Diversity

The National Museum of Natural History advances understanding of the natural world and our place in it. Through the contributions of 400 scientists and some 145 million specimens and artifacts, the museum represents an irreplaceable achive of Earth’s physical, cultural and biological diversity.

Generous campaign giving supported the museum's future by investing in people, programs and exhibitions. A full 43 percent of campaign gifts were directed toward endowment, providing funding to train and support the next generation of scientists and keep exhibitions current. Each endowment gift ensures sustained funding and long-term stability.

Endowment support from Peter Buck for both the Peter Buck Fellowship Program and the Peter Buck Chair in Human Origins ensures that the museum can build a pipeline of future scientific talent. In naming the science education center and providing an endowment, Coralyn Wright Whitney ensured that the museum's educational programming will exist in perpetuity. Roger and Victoria Sant's support of the Sant Ocean Hall allows visitors to explore the ocean's past, present, and future by combining marine specimens and models, high-definition video and the latest technology.

The museum’s largest-ever gift came from David Koch to transform the Fossil Hall for a new generation. When it reopens in 2019, the Deep Time exhibition will tell Earth's 4.6-billion year history of change and look to the future as part of an integrated research, education and outreach initiative. The hall will feature one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever found and the Warner Age of Humans Gallery.

The museum was grateful to receive numerous gifts for other endowed curatorial positions and fellowships. Each supports the work of world-renowned staff and scientists, enabling the museum to bring collections and research into public spaces for more authentic, interactive and meaningful learning.

National Museum of Natural History
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

In a world of 24-hour news cycles, the National Museum of Natural History offers 4.6 billion years of context. Earth’s epic journey is a story of change. Continents separate, species evolve and new languages and ideas emerge.

Since the Smithsonian’s inception in 1846, our geologists, biologists and anthropologists have assembled a collection of specimens and artifacts that now contains more than 127 million objects. Each one tells part of Earth’s story.

With the explosion of new technologies and tools, our 400 researchers and their peers around the globe can glean critical new information from these objects. In an era of rapid change, their discoveries about the past help us model and anticipate the future.

Many children alive today will live to see the year 2100. Our scientists and educators are working harder than ever to empower students with a problem-solving mindset that is rooted in curiosity. With new distance learning tools, we are bringing Smithsonian scientists and specimens to wired classrooms across the country and around the world.

Some 60 million people will walk through our doors in the next decade. With your help, we can impact their lives and shape a smart, sustainable, science-driven future for our planet.

Thank you,

  • Kirk Johnson
    Sant Director, National Museum of Natural History
National Museum of Natural History
Campaign Case

Discovering the Natural World

Showcasing Earth’s History
The National Museum of Natural History’s paleobiology department is recognized around the world for its study of the fossil record and highly popular dinosaur exhibitions. Our Fossil Hall is undergoing historic renovation. When it reopens in 2019, it will offer bold, new interactive experiences and feature one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever discovered.

Our highest priority is to fund Fossil Hall initiatives and a new era of interdisciplinary research, which will trace back 4.6 billion years to discover knowledge about life on Earth. These studies are more critical than ever, as scientists strive to understand global change.

Hands-on Science Education
Our new science education center, Q?rius, seamlessly connects on-site visitors and distance learners to Smithsonian field sites, specimens, research labs and scientists. The 10,000-square foot space offers a theater, classroom, thousands of collection objects, a hands-on lab and a loft for teens.

Gifts will enable us to expand and enhance learn-by-doing opportunities that compliment STEM (science technology, engineering and math) education throughout the U.S. and reach more students and teachers through digital programming.

Valuing World Cultures
More than half of the world’s 6,000 spoken languages will be silenced by the year 2100. When we lose them, we risk the loss of valuable ideas and information. Our Recovering Voices Initiative empowers communities to document and retain endangered languages and the knowledge they encode.

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History

is raising $230 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal.

Campaign Priorities

New Fossil Hall and Deep Time

$35 Million

We seek $35 million for this initiative. $250,000 will fund science research, $5 million will create an endowed Deep Time paleobiology chair and a $10 million gift with naming recognition will fund the Fossil Hall’s education space.


$15 Million

The museum seeks investments of $15 million for the science education center. A gift of $1 million will fund a new media and distance learning classroom and a $10 million gift with naming recognition will fund the Q?rius education center.

Global Genome Initiative

$15 Million

$10 million in private support will enable us to lead the creation of a systematic understanding of Earth’s biodiversity. Gift opportunities range from $250,000 for internships and graduate fellowships to $5 million for program endowment.

Recovering Voices

$15 Million

Investments totaling $15 million will help us build an international network of experts, increase access to cultural materials in our collection and train community scholars in the preservation of their own languages.

National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Coralyn W. Whitney, shown at the April 10, 2015 dedication ceremony.



Curiosity is Forever

Curiosity is Forever

It was the Hope Diamond that first enticed Coralyn Wright Whitney into the back rooms of the National Museum of Natural History. As a professional gemologist, she was invited for a behind-the-scenes look at the museum’s iconic jewel. In the vault, she recalls, “I got goose bumps looking at all the gems and mineral specimens.” The experience inspired her to make gifts to the National Gem Collection at the museum. In October 2014, Whitney attended the launch celebration for the Smithsonian Campaign and toured Q?rius, the museum’s interactive and experimental learning space for teens and tweens. She says, “The kids were working hands-on with elements from the museum’s collection. They were learning about what’s happening now with scientific discoveries, not just what’s in books, and they were enthralled!” Whitney was so impressed that she decided to endow the museum’s education center and programs and provide them with operating funds. In honor of Whitney’s historic donation, Q?rius has been dedicated as the Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center. “I wanted to make a gift that would have a lasting impact on young people and give them the opportunity to learn about our earth,” she says. 

Genomic samples are collected and cryopreserved.



John and Ginger Sall

Donors Seed Collections for Tomorrow

John and Ginger Sall believe data can help solve 21st-century challenges. In business, John Sall co-founded the company SAS, one of the world’s largest designers of analytical software for companies. To help understand biodiversity, the Salls gave seed funding to the National Museum of Natural History for the Global Genome Initiative. This collaborative project will map the genetic blueprint of life on Earth. This reference library will create tools to help unlock our understanding of biology and the diversity of life on our planet.

Rick Potts, Peter Buck Chair of Human Origins



Dr. Peter Buck

Gift Supports Groundbreaking Research

Dr. Peter Buck, an entrepreneur and nuclear scientist, knows the importance of nurturing visionary leaders. He endowed a chair in human origins at the National Museum of Natural History. More recently, he endowed fellowships and internships at the museum to train scientists, collection managers and educators. His endowment supports noted museum paleoanthropologist Rick Potts (pictured here). Potts has been gathering groundbreaking research about how human adaptation is tied to patterns of environmental instability. “My hope is that these gifts will guide the museum’s next century, providing a constant influx of new ideas as the museum pursues some of the most significant natural science research questions of our time,” Buck says. 

Roger Sant in the Natural History Museum's Sant Ocean Hall



Roger and Vicki Sant

Sants Set A Precedent

Roger and Vicki Sant care deeply about saving the planet’s biodiversity. At the same time, they are strategic about their philanthropy. The two have endowed the directorship at the National Museum of Natural History. They know the Smithsonian, with its talented leaders and a vast network of resources, can reach and inspire people to create a sustainable future. The Sants also established the Sant Chair for Marine Science and funded the Sant Ocean Hall. The museum’s current goal is to create an endowment to keep the hall at the forefront of ocean science. “The Smithsonian is one of the few institutions able to take on the large-scale challenges our world faces. Its long-term commitment to science and nature and all they can provide us is worthy of our strongest support,” Roger Sant says. 

Kirk Johnson, Skip, Alexia and Torianne Hommer and Matthew Carrano, National Museum of Natural History



NMNH Youngest Donor

Youngest Donor Loves Dinos

Six-year-old Skip Hommer loves dinosaurs. For his past three birthdays, he collected monetary gifts in lieu of birthday presents from his friends and gave the sum—along with a dinosaur-themed collection box—to the museum. As a budding philanthropist, Skip wanted to help the museum renovate its fossil hall. Skip’s parents, Deborah and Scott Hommer, have always encouraged the importance of philanthropy to their three children. “Over the years, we have asked our children to collect donations for charities of their choosing in lieu of birthday gifts," Deborah Hommer says. "When Skip heard that the museum was temporarily closing the dinosaur hall for renovation, he wanted to do what he could to help.”

National Museum of Natural History Fossil Hall (artist's rendering)



David Koch

Fossil Hall to be Named for Koch

David Koch remembers he was “blown away” the first time he encountered a dinosaur skeleton in a museum as a child. His gift to the National Museum of Natural History—the single largest gift the museum has received to date—funds the renovation of the Fossil Hall, one of the Smithsonian’s most popular exhibitions. The hall, which will be named for Koch, will trace Earth’s history over 10 geologic time periods and display the museum’s newly acquired and largely complete T. rex skeleton. “This phenomenal Natural History Museum needs to have an updated dinosaur hall. They are the most popular in any natural history museum,” Koch says.

Philanthropic gifts from Barbara and Craig Barrett and others helped to build Q?rius, whose interactive environment connects teens to science.



Barbara and Craig Barrett

Gift Sparks Innovative Learning Center

Barbara Barrett has been an ambassador to Finland, worked for the Federal Aviation Administration and practiced corporate, international and business law. She is certified as an astronaut and has landed a F/A-18 supersonic jet on an aircraft carrier. Craig Barrett was chief executive officer and chair of Intel Corporation. He taught at Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow in Denmark. Their philanthropic giving is just as ambitious. Their gift to the National Museum of Natural History helped establish Q?rius Education Center, an interactive and experimental learning space for budding scientists. “The Smithsonian has been a part of American culture for about 170 years. It’s unlike anything anywhere else in the world. It’s really important for us to build for the future so that our children and grandchildren will have this treasure house,” says Barbara Barrett.


National Museum of Natural History

Contact Us

National Museum of Natural History Campaign Officers

National Museum of Natural History Board

  • Ms. Kathryn S. Fuller, Chair 
  • Ms. Paula Kerger, Vice Chair  
  • The Honorable Bruce Babbitt
  • Dr. Jane Buikstra
  • Dr. Scott Edwards
  • Mr. John Fahey
  • Ms. Gabriela Febres-Cordero
  • Dr. Jonathan Fink
  • Mr. David Koch
  • Dr. Jane Lubchenco
  • Mr. Gregory T. Lucier
  • Ambassador William Luers
  • Mr. Whitney MacMillan
  • Ambassador Robert Mandell
  • Dr. Marcia K. McNutt
  • Mr. Timothy Phillips
  • Mr. David Rubenstein
  • Dr. Jeremy Sabloff
  • Mr. John Sall
  • Mr. Roger W. Sant
  • Ms. Sophia Shaw
  • Dr. Jorge Soberón
  • Mr. Marshall Turner
  • Dr. Coralyn Wright Whitney
  • Dr. Peter Buck, Emeritus             
  • Mrs. Jean Lane, Emerita
  • Mr. Robert Malott, Emeritus
  • Dr. David Skorton, Ex-Officio
  • Dr. Kirk Johnson, Ex-Officio
  • Dr. John Kress, Ex-Officio

National Museum of Natural History

Total Goal:
$224.2 Million


$224.2 Million Raised

As of November 30, 2017

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