The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., has announced a $12 million gift from Oprah Winfrey to support construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The gift, which boosts Winfrey's total support for the museum to $13 million, was made as part of a capital campaign that is raising funds for the design and construction of the new museum. The 300,000-square-foot museum is expected to cost about $500 million, with half of that provided by congressional funding and the remainder to be funded by private donations.
Scheduled to open in 2015, the museum will be located on the National Mall and will feature a theater to be named after the television celebrity and media magnate. Winfrey, who currently serves as chair and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network, has been a member of the museum's advisory council since 2004. The 350-seat theater to be named after her will be one of the largest spaces in the museum and will feature films and performances that give audiences a broader understanding of how African-American history and culture have shaped and enriched the country and the world.
"At its heart, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is a showcase for a richer, fuller picture of the American experience," said Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough. "The Oprah Winfrey Theater will bring untold stories alive through films, live performances, artistic expression, and public dialogue. The new theater's designation could not be more fitting, as Ms. Winfrey's name is synonymous with generosity, education, excellence, and the arts."