July 18th, 2012
M&M maker Mars gives Smithsonian $5M to fund business exhibit at American history museum
The Washington Post
Candy maker Mars Inc. is donating $5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to create a new gallery focused on business and innovation in the United States dating back to the 1700s, the museum announced Wednesday.
The McLean, Va.-based maker of Snickers, M&Ms and pet foods will be the lead sponsor of a planned “American Enterprise” exhibit. The 8,000-square-foot multimedia gallery will trace the nation’s economic development from a small agricultural nation to one of the world’s largest economies.
In announcing the gift, Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said it will tell a broad story about business for visitors of all ages. The Smithsonian is naming the gallery the Mars Hall of American Business. It is scheduled to open in 2015 after a renovation of the museum’s west wing.
The overhaul also marks an effort to expand the museum’s content beyond its roots in technology, cultural and political history. A 2002 blue-ribbon commission questioned, in part, why its exhibits didn’t explore capitalism and the growth of a broad middle class, among other under-represented subjects.