American Museum of Natural History Gives Back


Urban Advantage program celebrates its ten year anniversary. Photo via AMNH.

By Alexandra Ruiz and Alissa Valeri

Part of a mini-series highlighting New York City museums as materials donors and recipients of MFTA. We deeply appreciate these cultural institutions’ generosity and contributions towards the sustainability of the city’s arts and education community.

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has played an important role in fostering consciousness throughout the city in sustainability. Since its founding in 1869, the museum has been an active practitioner of sustainability and been dedicated to alleviating the bio diversity crisis. They conduct scientific research with the impressive 32 million specimens in their collection – a vital resource in the scientific and intellectual community.  They combine these efforts with a dedication to public and educational service that is impressive (considering their enormous size and interface).

A donor to MFTA since 1993, the museum is an especially valued ally to the arts community.  AMNH has donated 14,716 pounds of materials to the MFTA warehouse, providing support  to the many appreciative organizations that benefit from their generosity, including the Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation, Pratt Institute, and the New Horizons Counseling Center.

P1110619Their biggest donation to date was made in June 2014 and consisted of 2,847 pounds of household items. Many of their donations serve functional purposes, such as plexiglas, hardware supplies, 37 light fixtures and  fabric. lightingBesides helping others through their donations, the American Museum of Natural History is also a recipient of the wonderful materials stocked in our warehouse. Since registering as a recipient in 1991, AMNH  incorporated arts and crafts supplies, trim, and household objects into their educational programming and special events.


One such program is Urban Advantage, a middle school science initiative Now in its tenth year, the program supports more than 50,000 middle school students from 177 public schools across the 5 boroughs in long term scientific investigations. The program works with the Department of Education as well as other cultural institutions and MFTA recipients that inspire science learning, such as the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, New York Hall of Science, and Queens Botanical Garden.



Discovery room. Photo from AMNH

The Museum provides opportunities to explore science, the natural world, and cultural histories to nearly 5 million children and adults each year.  Like MFTA, the museum embraces education by offering interactive experiences. They are a greatly admired donor, recipient, and role model of ours, and we are lucky to have them working with us in this global sustainability mission. As all of our donors and recipients know, we can’t do it alone!

Alexandra Ruiz is the Donations and Development Intern and will be starting her first semester at Brown University this coming fall. Alissa Valeri is the Communications Intern. She is a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Art History and History.