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Jeff Bezos donates $200M to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, speaks at The Economic Club Milestone Celebration Dinner in Washington on September 13, 2018. Bezos donated $200 million to the Smithsonian. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, speaks at The Economic Club Milestone Celebration Dinner in Washington on September 13, 2018. Bezos donated $200 million to the Smithsonian. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

July 14 (UPI) -- Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on Wednesday donated $200 million to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to launch a new education center.

The Washington, D.C., museum said that $70 million of the donation will be used for renovation projects while $130 million will go toward the Bezos Learning Center which will be built on the east side of the museum's plaza on the National Mall.

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"The center will connect to all Smithsonian museums, coordinating STEAM-related (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) collections and experts across the institution and promoting inquiry-based learning in visitors of all ages, with a focus on under-resourced communities," the Smithsonian said.

The Smithsonian noted that Bezos has previously made contributions to its National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Air and Space Museum.

"The Smithsonian plays a vital role in igniting the imaginations of our future builders and dreamers," Bezos said. "Every child is born with great potential, and it's inspiration that unlocks that potential. My love affair with science, invention and space did that for me and I hope this gift does that for others."

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Bezos said last month that he will travel on Blue Origin's first passenger space flight, which is scheduled to take place on July 20.

He will be joined by his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old female aviator Wally Funk and a fourth passenger -- whose name hasn't been revealed -- who paid more than $29 million for a seat on the flight.

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