The Washington, D.C.-based Smithsonian National Museum of American History announced over the weekend that it will be opening a new “innovation” wing on July 1.
The newly renovated section will feature displays, activities and exhibits of influential american inventors, entrepreneurs and the technology they created.
It is the first piece of a six-year renovation effort to overhaul the Smithsonian’s entire west wing. The innovation project cost an estimated $63 million and originally began in 2012 — $40 million of which came from the private sector and the other $20 million in funding was procured via Congress.
Major donors involved in the $40 million private sector fund included Mars Inc., Intel, Monsanto Co. and the History Channel. In addition to public recognition of their donations, a number of the companies will also appear through different exhibits. That being said, Museum Curator Peter Liebhold told CBS DC that,“corporate donors did not dictate the exhibit content or fund specific pieces.”
In a separate interview with PHYS, Liebhold said,”The Smithsonian has a pretty firm line in the sand about no donor influence and nobody pressured us on this exhibition.”
Construction to further develop the West wing will continue well into 2018. Museum Director John Gray told the Associated Press that it is part of a “reinvention of the American history museum … History museums are not passive places but places that make it essential to understand and grow our country.”
“A wide range of innovations from Eli Whitney’s cotton gin to the early Google servers will help tell the story of American business history for the first time at the Smithsonian,” the Associated Press writes.