Officials from The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announced on Tuesday, June 11, that former daytime show host Oprah Winfrey donated $12 million to the museum to support the general campaign of the museum. Combined with $1 million she offered in 2007, the gift becomes the museum’s largest donation to date. To honor her generosity, a 350-seat theater at the museum will be called “Oprah Winfrey Theater”.
“I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole. I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps. By investing in this museum, I want to help ensure that we both honor and preserve our culture and history, so that the stories of who we are will live on for generations to come,” Oprah said in a statement released by the museum.
National Museum of African American History and Culture began the construction in early 2012, on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument. Half of the $500 million project is supported by the government. So far, the museum has received $140 million in private funds. The 19th Smithsonian museum is expected to open in 2015.
Washington Times noted that about 22,000 objects will be displayed at the museum. Slave rebellion leader Nat Turner’s Bible and a glass-topped casket of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was murdered for whistling a white woman in 1955, are among the collections. The museum’s director Lonnie Bunch is in talks to acquire a microphone which Oprah used on her show.