The grants, which were not awarded through a formal competitive process, include $2 million to the Exploratorium in San Francisco as part of a $300 million campaign to double the museum's existing space through a waterfront expansion scheduled for completion in 2013. The California Academy of Sciences also received $2 million to develop a new exhibit on the importance of biodiversity and its relationship to human health.
Additional grants were awarded to the Museum of Mathematics in New York, the Science Museum in London, the New York Hall of Science, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and the Museum of Science in Boston.
"We wanted to support museums in the community where Google has a strong presence," said Google philanthropic public affairs manager Jamie Yood. "It's something we've been thinking about doing, because we have a lot of people at Google who cite their experience at science museums as part of their decision to become an engineer."