The National Museum of Natural History has announced a gift of $35 million from David H. Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries, to help construct a new dinosaur exhibition hall.
The largest, most complex renovation in the museum's history will enable it to showcase its collection of forty-six million fossils and present the most up-to-date scientific research possible. Part of the Smithsonian Institution system, the museum houses 127 million specimens and artifacts.
The dinosaur hall was part of the museum when it opened in 1910 and its current display of dinosaurs and paleontology has been essentially unchanged for more than thirty years. The exhibition has become outdated, in part, because the museum lacked the funds for a total renovation of the space, including extensive infrastructure work, which will be paid for with federal funds. With the gift from Koch, the museum can begin work on a complete overhaul of the hall that, when completed, will present the fossil record in new ways to show how dinosaurs and other extinct creatures lived in changing environments.
"Dinosaurs have always been one of the Smithsonian's most important and popular exhibitions," said National Museum of Natural History director Cristi�n Samper. "The new paleobiology and dinosaur hall will enable us not only to show remarkable fossils, but also to present the latest scientific findings about how life on earth has evolved."