Natural-History Education

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 2014

Over a 20-year period, investor Richard Gilder donated more than $125 million to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He also devoted much time and brainpower—for instance in spearheading the museum’s expansion of its Hayden Planetarium into the more ambitious Rose Center for Earth and Space (described in a nearby 1999 entry). His most interesting gift, however, may have been the one that established the Richard Gilder Graduate School right within the museum—where scientists can now earn Ph.D.s in biology, and teachers can complete master’s degrees in science instruction. Building on this unusual pedagogical capacity within the museum, Gilder announced his latest and largest gift in 2014: $50 million to kick off a six-story addition that will particularly provide space for the museum’s growing education programs. The new wing will also accommodate additional research by staff, and help the museum cope with its jump in visitors—from 3 million annually during the 1990s to 5 million per year in 2015.