Amazon Chair Jeff Bezos donating $200 mln to Smithsonian

Two boys at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum look at images that are 48 hours old, coming back from the sun, in Washington, September 1, 2015. The sun's images, from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory, show four different wavelengths and deliver data on the sun's influence on earth. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - Inc(AMZN.O) founder and Chair Jeff Bezos will donate $200 million to the Smithsonian Institution to boost its Air and Space museum and fund a new education center, the largest gift since the museum's founding in 1846.

The Smithsonian Institution, which bills itself the world's largest museum and includes 19 U.S. museums and the National Zoo, said $70 million of Bezos' donation will support the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington and $130 million will help fund the new Bezos Learning Center at the museum.

The center will be in a facility to be constructed on the east side of the museum's plaza on the National Mall.

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Bezos, the former chief executive of Amazon and a long-time space enthusiast, is due to be part of a four-person crew for a planned 11-minute ride to the edge of space on Tuesday inside his company Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft.

Bezos gift "will also help enable a technological transformation of the museum's galleries and public spaces," the Smithsonian said.

The Smithsonian says the Air and Space Museum is the world's largest and most visited aerospace museum.

Bezos has a net worth of more than $200 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang

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