American billionaire donor contributes to museum
A total of 307 African specimens valued at more than $30 million highlighted the opening of the new Shanghai Natural History Museum on April 19.
With light and sound effects, the specimens are arranged to present different natural scenes of the African savanna, such as the wildebeest’s migration, lion pride and the brutal hunting of hyenas.
Kenneth E. Behring, the billionaire American philanthropist, donated all the animal specimens, making him the biggest contributor to the museum.
“The new museum of Shanghai is one of the greatest museums in the world, and I want my donation to make it not just one of the greatest but the greatest one,” Behring said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony.
Behring, 87, has been working with world-class museums, including the Smithsonian’s museums, for more than 10 years.
Since 2004, his foundations have developed animal exhibitions in China, including in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Dalian, Yangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing.
Supplying specimens to seven city museums and eight animal exhibition halls, the total value of these animals has reached over $100 million.
“I donated specimens … to use museums as platforms in a larger plan to help educate, inspire and develop future generations of public and private sector leaders around the world,” he said in his biography,
which has been published in China.
In 2001, Behring established a partnership with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation to help distribute wheelchairs in China.
Behring has distributed more than 325,000 wheelchairs in more than 40 cities and towns in China to disabled people including 500 survivors of the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976.
He is also the founder and chairman of the Global Health & Education Foundation, which launched Global Natural History Day, a competition that aims to ignite the passion for environmental protection among school children mainly from China and the US.
In 2013, Behring received China’s National Friendship Award in the Great Hall of the People and met Premier Li Keqiang.
Kenneth E. Behring, the US billionaire and philanthropist is the biggest contributer to the museum by donating all the animal specimens.