New Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation Announced

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The Board of Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History has authorized the creation of the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, where new media and exhibition presentations will showcase collections, bring visitors into laboratories and classrooms, and offer direct access to the Museum’s researchers and scientific work.

“This facility is going to transform what it means to be a museum in the 21st century, what we do, how we do it and whom we reach,” Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History, told The New York Times

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Over the past 20 years, the Museum’s scientific and educational programs have been extended to include new types of research, a Ph.D. program in comparative biology, a free-standing Master of Arts in teaching Earth Science program, and programs that currently serve 500,000 school-aged New York City children on school visits and camps, as well as 5,300 teachers in professional development and teacher education programs each year.

At the same time, annual attendance was increased from 3 million to approximately 5 million. The Gilder Center will offer a new kind of immersive visitor experience, in addition to improving circulation in the Museum.

Planned to open in 2019–2020 in conjunction with the Museum’s 150th anniversary, the center is named to recognize Trustee Richard Gilder and his lifetime of contributions to the Museum.

“Over the last two decades, the American Museum of Natural History has been transformed, and Dick Gilder has been there at every major turning point, from the creation of the Rose Center for Earth and Space to the establishment of the Richard Gilder Graduate School,” said Lewis W. Bernard, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “Where everyone else sees merely an unmet need, Dick sees opportunity."

Studio Gang Architects, led by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, will design the building, and Ralph Appelbaum of Ralph Appelbaum Associates will design the exhibitions. With the authorization in place, the Museum will now begin the process of design and community consultation.