News & Politics

Jeff Bezos Donates a Whopping $200 Million to the Smithsonian

Jeff Bezos. Photograph by Evy Mages

On Wednesday, the Smithsonian Institution announced that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is donating the biggest sum of money to the institution since James Smithson willed the money to found it in the 19th century. Part of the funds—$70 million—will go to renovating the National Air and Space Museum, while $130 million will finance the creation of a totally new education center for science, tech, engineering, arts, and math, to be called the Bezos Learning Center. It will be built on the east side of the museum.

Bezos is a regular Smithsonian donor, having contributed previously to the Air and Space Museum and supported the founding of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In recent years, he’s become more enmeshed in Washington life: In 2013, he bought the Washington Post and, in 2018, he named Crystal City the site for Amazon’s HQ2. He has a couple of places in Kalorama, too.

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Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.