Oprah Donates $12 Million to Build National African American Museum

The African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C. this week received a $12 million gift from Oprah Winfrey to support the museum’s capital campaign. Combined with a $1 million gift made in 2007, this brings Winfrey’s total to $13 million, the museum’s largest donation to date. Winfrey, chairman and CEO of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, has been a member of the museum’s advisory council since 2004. In recognition of this gift, the museum’s theater will be named the Oprah Winfrey Theater. The 350-seat theater will be one of the largest spaces in the museum and will host a space for performers, artists, educators, scholars, authors, musicians, filmmakers, and opinion leaders. The theater programs will enable audiences to understand how African American history and culture shape and enrich the country and the world. “I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole,” said Winfrey. “I am deeply appreciative of those who paved the path for me and all who follow in their footsteps,” she said. “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.” The museum was established as a Smithsonian museum by an Act of Congress in 2003. It will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to showcasing African American life, art, history and culture and the national place for visitors to fully appreciate the broader American story. While its building is under construction, the museum is presenting exhibitions in its gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Its current exhibition, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and The March on Washington, 1963” explores the historical context of these two events, their accomplishments and limitations, and their impact on the generations that followed. The exhibit will remain open to the public through Sept. 15 Winfrey’s gift marks a significant milestone in the museum’s fundraising campaign. For more information go to http://nmaahc.si.edu/content/pdf/Newsroom/06112013.pdf.

Artist rendering of the African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

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