David M. Rubenstein, the Washington philanthropist, is donating $13.5 million to the Foundation for the National Archives for a new permanent gallery.
The gift is the single largest donation to the foundation, the independent nonprofit that raises funds for the Archives.
The Rubenstein gift will help finance a new gallery, an expansion of how the Archives concentrates on telling the American story through documents. In addition to original materials, the space will display the copy of the 1297 Magna Carta, which Rubenstein purchased in 2007 and lent to the Archives.
The The expansion, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013, will also include a visitor orientation plaza. The Archives’ 1 million visitors a year walk through the landmark rotunda to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
Rubenstein is the co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. His passion for history and education has led him to pursue rare documents. He has lent a copy of the Declaration of Independence to the State Department, a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to the Oval Office and the first official map of the United States published after the American Revolution to the Library of Congress. He is also chairman of the Kennedy Center and a regent of the Smithsonian.
“This gift is critical in offering visitors the opportunity to explore the story of America through the records that tell of the ongoing struggles and triumphs in perfecting our democracy,” said Ken Lore, the foundation chairman and president.