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May 04, 2012

$35-Million Gift to Help Remake Dinosaur Hall at Smithsonian Museum

Billionaire industrialist David Koch has pledged $35-million to the Smithsonian Institution to fund a makeover of the National Museum of Natural History's dinosaur hall, says The Washington Post.

The gift, announced Thursday by the Smithsonian, is the largest ever to the Natural History Museum. The dinosaur display, one of the museum's top draws, is more than 30 years old and has long ranked high on the institution's list of needed renovations.

Mr. Koch, who says he has always been fascinated by dinosaurs, serves on the Natural History Museum's advisory board and previously donated $15-million for its Hall of Human Origins. He is also a prominent donor to the arts and conservative causes. He has also given $20-million to New York's American Museum of Natural History for its paleontological work.

The Washington institution's dinosaur hall will close in 2014 for renovation work that is expected to take about five years, with its exhibitions temporarily relocated to other parts of the museum.