Amer­i­can bil­lion­aire donor con­trib­utes to mu­seum

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG RU in Shang­hai

wan­gru@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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