TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--American Friends of Tel Aviv University today announced that construction is underway on the new Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University (TAU), a key project that will house and preserve a natural history collection of over five million specimens.
Slated to open in March 2017, the 8,000-square-meter building will form the centerpiece of the largest, most comprehensive center in Israel for biodiversity research, education and conservation.
The Steinhardt Museum, the first and only center for natural history research and outreach in the Middle East, was made possible through the vision and unwavering commitment of philanthropist, legendary financier and investor Michael Steinhardt, one of the founding patrons behind Birthright Israel.
“I believe the five million plus specimens that will be in the museum on opening day are already a dynamic record of Israel’s biodiversity and the history and evolution of humankind in the Middle East,” said Steinhardt. “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.”
The museum will serve as an important resource for thousands of Israeli and international visitors and researchers each year.
“Israel is the crossroads at which all plants, animals and humans moved from Africa to Europe and Asia. It is the only place in the world where you can see this historical depth,” according to Stanford University Prof. Dr. Marcus Feldman, a member of the Steinhardt Museum International Scientific Advisory Board. “In 10 or 20 years, the Steinhardt Museum will become a major world center for the study of biological systematics, evolution, paleo-ecology and paleo-anthropology.”
Its unique design, built by architect Michal Kimmel-Eshkelot, was inspired by Noah’s Ark, a fitting tribute to the natural history collections it will house.
“The Steinhardt Museum is now a magnificent reality because of the intellectual curiosity and generosity of Michael Steinhardt,” said Gail Reiss, President/CEO of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. “We hope and believe that, in addition to being a great research institution, the museum will become a tourist destination on par with Tel Aviv itself. Its exotic ark design and neighborhood – part of the TAU Nature Campus, which includes the Botanical Gardens and the I. Meier Segals Garden for Zoological Research – will make TAU a wonderful day trip for children and adults alike.”
American Friends of Tel Aviv University supports Israel’s most influential, comprehensive, and sought-after center of higher learning, Tel Aviv University (TAU). TAU ranked #75 globally and #1 in Israel in a 2015 Reuters survey of the 100 most innovative universities. It is one of a handful of elite universities rated as the best producers of successful startups, and TAU alumni rank #9 in the world for the amount of venture capital they attract.