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Denver Museum of Nature & Science gets $25 million anonymous donation

The donation is the largest gift the museum has received in its 121-year history.

DENVER — The Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) said it received a very generous gift just before the holiday weekend.

An anonymous donor is giving $25 million to DMNS and its supporting organization, the DMNS Foundation.

It's the largest gift given to the institution in its 121-year history.

DMNS said 10% of the funds will go directly to the museum for initial staffing, equipment and launch activities. 

An endowed fund at DMNS Foundation will be established with the remaining 90%, and annual distributions from the endowment will support DMNS' conservation work long term.

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DMNS' collection is made up of 4.3 million artifacts and specimens. 

DMNS President and CEO George Sparks said the support will expand the museum’s capacity for collections conservation containing scientifically and culturally significant objects in archaeology, ethnology, geology, paleontology, health sciences, zoology and archives. 

In an average year, DMNS fields 350 external research requests, consults with dozens of tribal nation representatives, makes 160 loans consisting of more than 11,000 collection items, and hosts collection tours for about 13,000 people. 

"Collections are treasures held in the public trust. Preserving them and making them accessible to source communities, scientists and the public has long been an institutional priority,” said Museum Director of Anthropology and Senior Curator of Archaeology Stephen E. Nash. “This unprecedented gift will take our work to another level, with the expertise and state-of-the-art analytical equipment needed to advance the field and train the next generation of conservation professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. It will position the Museum as a leader in culturally-inclusive object conservation in the Rocky Mountain region, nationally and internationally.”

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