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Tel Aviv, Israel
June 26, 2017

Inauguration of Steinhardt Museum of Natural History Celebrated at TAU

Historic event held in presence of philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and family, TAU governors, board members and faculty

The official inauguration ceremony of the new Steinhardt Museum of Natural History was held on Monday, June 26, 2017, at Tel Aviv University.

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History will open its doors to the public later this summer. The new museum will house Israel’s national natural history collections, featuring some five and a half million animals and plants that tell the story of biodiversity in Israel and the Middle East over the past century.

The event was attended by Michael Steinhardt, philanthropist, financier and investor, whose vision and commitment made the museum possible; his wife Judy Steinhardt; their children Sara Berman and David Steinhardt and grandchildren; the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai; Minister of Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Uri Ariel; the general directors of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the Ministries of Tourism and of Science and Technology, and the chair of the Planning and Grants Committee of the Council of Higher Education; and many others.

"Through the museum, we have the opportunity to ensure that scientists, researchers and people of all stripes who are interested in preserving the past to better understand the future will have a place to observe and study that history for themselves," Mr. Steinhardt has said.

At the ceremony, Prof. Tamar Dayan, Chair of the Steinhardt Museum, commemorated the museum's opening and Mr. and Mrs. Steinhardt's contributions.

"You who are present are friends of nature, science, culture, and education, and know that understanding the ecosystem, protecting it, using it sustainably, and learning from it are key to the future of our children," Prof. Dayan said. "The Steinhardt Museum is the product of the unprecedented cooperation of generations of devoted scientists and professionals, and wonderful administrators, with the invaluable support and partnership of several government ministries and, all along, active and visionary philanthropic support."

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter also addressed the guests. "The Museum will anchor the University as a national center for biodiversity studies," he said. "It will be a magnet for researchers, students, schoolchildren, families and tourists. It will transform Israel into a global hub for natural history and biodiversity activity. We have many people and organizations to thank for this project, but the lead supporter and long-time champion is Michael, supported every step of the way by Judy."

The Steinhardt Museum will form the centerpiece of the largest and most comprehensive center in Israel for biodiversity research, education and conservation. Operating under the auspices of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, it will serve as an important resource for thousands of Israeli and international visitors and researchers each year.

The unique design of the 100,000-square-foot building, built by architect Michal Kimmel-Eshkelot, was inspired by Noah's Ark, a tribute to the natural history collections it will house. The building will include galleries and exhibition halls to display some of the collections' five million specimens.

Photos: Israel Hadari

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