has announced a $4 million gift from alumnus David Friend ('69) to turn the auditorium in its into a mineral and gem gallery.
The transformed space, to be named David Friend Hall, will function as both an exhibition gallery and a venue for the more than three hundred lectures and other events held at the museum every year. The gift from Friend, founder and executive chair of online backup service provider Carbonite, will provide for the renovation of the space, the purchase of new mineral specimens, the creation of mineral displays, and an endowment in support of the space's new function. The renovated hall will open to the public as part of the museum's hundred and fiftieth anniversary celebration in 2016.
"The new hall will feature breathtaking, large specimens unique in their beauty and grandeur, as well as a rotating series of mineral exhibits on loan from the greatest collections in the world," said Jay Ague, curator of mineralogy and meteoritics. "I really believe that it will capture the imaginations of the museum’s visitors in a whole new way."