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Cleveland Museum of Natural History Announces Capital Campaign Leadership Team

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has tapped two well-known corporate leaders to serve as co-chairmen of the fundraising campaign for the transformation of the Museum’s campus in University Circle. Executive Director and CEO Evalyn Gates, Ph.D., has announced that A. Chace Anderson, the Museum’s board president and a partner of CM Wealth Advisors, and Museum trustee James L. Hambrick, chairman, president and CEO of The Lubrizol Corp., will direct the Museum’s first significant capital fundraising campaign in its 90-year history. The funds will renovate and expand the Museum in ambitious ways envisioned by Gates and the Board of Trustees, creating a place where Museum professionals, programs and physical space become an even greater resource to the community for science education.

Design concept of the entrance hall for the Museum transformation project.
© Fentress Architects.

Gates and the Board of Trustees have also named three individuals to serve as honorary chairs of the campaign. These community leaders all credit their careers in science to their early experiences at the Museum. Honorary co-chairs are Scott R. Inkley, M.D., of Chagrin Falls, a pulmonologist who became chief of staff and later CEO of University Hospitals of Cleveland; Bobbie Brown, Ph.D., of Chardon, president of The Louise H. and David S. Ingalls Foundation, who studied biological anthropology and taught anatomy at the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (Northeast Ohio Medical University); and Harvey Webster of Kirtland, a biologist and wildlife conservationist, a longtime staff member of the Museum who heads its Wildlife Resources Division.

The goal of the capital campaign, which began a quiet phase of fundraising in September 2012, is to raise $125 million over a period of five to seven years. These dollars will fund a complete renovation of the Museum where laboratories that house the Museum’s collections become integrated with galleries and accessible to visitors. Much of the Museum’s labs are currently beyond public view. In the new campus design, created by Fentress Architects of Denver, visitors, and especially children and students, will see Museum curators and staff at work, engaging these young visitors with real science and encouraging them to think about careers in science. The new design aims to make science come alive and to help reverse a trend where fewer young people are pursuing science as careers.

The new design will also enhance how the Museum showcases the 5,000+ acres of natural areas it stewards as part of its conservation mission. Through the campus design and its emphasis on modeling the latest thinking in green building, the Thelma and Kent H. Smith Environmental Courtyard grows in size and more actively engages visitors in exploring and understanding the unique ecosystems of Northeast Ohio, as well as the Museum’s work in conservation and sustainability. Education classrooms will be located directly off the courtyard, with access for students and teachers to move easily between indoor and outdoor learning areas and activities. The new campus design recognizes the importance of such hands-on learning and points to the historic role the Museum has played in inspiring each generation. Scientists who in their youth participated in Museum programs such as Future Scientists (now in its 50th year) credit their Museum experiences with sparking their professional interest.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, incorporated in 1920, is one of the finest institutions of its kind in North America. It is noted for its collections, research, educational programs and exhibits. The Museum’s collections encompass more than 5 million artifacts and specimens, and research of global significance focuses on 11 natural science disciplines. The Museum actively conserves biological diversity through the protection of more than 5,000 acres of natural areas. It promotes health education with local programs and distance learning that extends across the globe. Its GreenCityBlueLake Institute is a center of thought and practice for the design of green and sustainable cities. –