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Hirshhorn sets record for largest donation with $2 million gift from trustee

The Hirshhorn Museum announced a record-setting donation. (Marge Ely for The Washington Post)

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has received a $2 million gift from trustee Joleen Julis and her husband, Mitch, museum officials announced. The donation is the largest gift from an individual ever made to the Smithsonian’s modern and contemporary art museum.

The donation will establish the “Future Fund,” a $4 million effort to redesign the museum’s lobby and sculpture garden, according to Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. It will also be used to integrate technology into the museum’s programming.

“As we conclude this transformative 40th anniversary year, the Hirshhorn seeks to become a creative hub at the intersection of art and technology and to lead the global conversations on the art of our time. It is the support of people like Joleen and Mitch that enables us to move forward with these goals,” Chiu said in a statement.

Joleen Julis joined the Board of Trustees of the Hirshhorn last October, one of the 12 new members recruited by Chiu since she became director last fall. Julis is a member of the contemporary art council at the Asia Society. Chiu left that organization to take over the Smithsonian’s modern art museum.

The donation caps a successful year of fundraising, according to board chairwoman Peggy Burnet. The museum brought in $3.7 million more than last year, an increase of 50 percent.