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Gift Planning

A Lasting Gift for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Link your legacy with the Museum. A gift in your will or estate plan ensures that we can continue to inspire curiosity about the natural world through our unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs well into the future.

Become a valued member of the Museum’s family with a gift in your estate. Learn about our Legacy Society »

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Planned Gifts

Inspire future Museum visitors with a gift that extends beyond your lifetime.

Wills and Living Trusts

You want to leave money to the Museum in your will. You also want the flexibility to change your will in the event that life circumstances change. You can do both. In as little as one sentence, you can complete your gift. This type of donation to the Museum in your will or living trust helps ensure that we continue our mission for years to come.

Beneficiary Designations

Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using:

  • IRAs and retirement plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Commercial annuities

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here's how to name the Museum as a beneficiary:

  1. Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank, or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form.
  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank, or financial institution.

Charitable Gift Annuities

There's a way for you to support the Museum and feel confident that you have dependable income in your retirement years. You can do this with a charitable gift annuity.

This type of donation can provide you with regular payments and allow us to further our work. You can also qualify for a variety of tax benefits, including a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize.

Additional Gifts

There are many other types of planned gifts that may fit your long-term goals and help secure the future for you and your family, as well as the Museum. To learn more, please contact Sandra Lovinguth, Chief Development Officer, at

Sample Language for Your Will

I give [____% of the residue of my estate], or [the sum of ________ dollars] to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC for its general purposes [or program].

Tax ID: #53-0206027

Contact Us

We would be happy to illustrate how your gift makes an impact at the Museum. Simply contact Sandra Lovinguth, Chief Development Officer, at

Sandra Lovinguth, Chief Development Officer, Director's Office, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
African animal gallery

Did you know?

The museum is the size of 18 football fields.