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Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will donate $200 million to the National Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The Smithsonian said the sum represents the largest donation to the institution since its founding gift from James Smithson in 1846.

By the numbers: Of the total, $70 million will support museum renovations and $130 million will help establish an education center to be named the Bezos Learning Center.

The big picture: This is not the first time Bezos has donated to the Smithsonian. He was a founding donor to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and has made past contributions to the Air and Space Museum.

What they're saying: "Almost 175 years ago, Mr. Smithson’s inaugural gift laid the groundwork for this innovative approach, bringing together private philanthropy and public funding. Today, as we emerge from a pivotal moment in history, Jeff’s donation builds on that original tradition and will help us reimagine and transform the Smithsonian," said Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch.

  • "This historic gift will help the Smithsonian achieve its goal of reaching every classroom in America by creating a world-class learning center with access and inspiration at its heart," he added.

Go deeper

Oct 15, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver Art Museum gets a $175 million makeover

The exterior of the Martin Building at the Denver Art Museum. Photo: Eric Stephenson/courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

After more than three years of construction, not to mention last year's pandemic delays, the Denver Art Museum's $175 million renovation is, at last, complete.

What's next: Doors open to the public with a free admission day Oct. 24.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.