Announced in conjunction with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Sackler Gallery, the gift will be used to establish an endowment for a director position at the museums, which together comprise the Smithsonian's holdings of Asian art. In recognition of the gift, the position will be known as the Dame Jillian Sackler director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art.
Sackler — widow of Arthur M. Sackler, for whom the gallery is named — has contributed generously to the Smithsonian since the Sackler Gallery was established in 1987. At the gallery's inception, for example, she contributed a collection of more than one thousand pieces of Asian art and served on the gallery's visiting committee. She currently serves as honorary chair and chief benefactor of the museums' twenty-fifth anniversary gala, which will be held in November.
"This remarkable gift will ensure that the Sackler and Freer galleries will have the best possible leadership into the future," said Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough. "Nothing could be more important, and we are deeply grateful to Dame Jillian Sackler for her commitment and foresight, particularly coming on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery."