Central Hall renamed following £5m gift

08 May 2014

The Museum's main hall will be renamed Hintze Hall in recognition of an unprecedented donation.

British-Australian businessman and philanthropist Sir Michael Hintze has made a donation of £5 million to the Natural History Museum through the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. It is the largest single donation the Museum has ever received.

Museum Director Dr Michael Dixon said the money will be used to fund ambitious plans for the future of the galleries, and to help fund the Museum's pioneering scientific research. 

'We are honouring this major investment in our future by renaming our most prominent public space Hintze Hall,' Dr Dixon said. 

'I look forward to involving Sir Michael and Lady Hintze in the Museum's future development.'

The Museum recently became the third most popular free UK visitor attraction, reporting record visitor figures of 5.3 million for 2013.

The displays in Hintze Hall will be redeveloped over the next three years to better reflect the Museum's current scientific work and the breadth of the collections.

Long-term plans for improvement

This redevelopment is the first part of a long-term plan to improve the Museum's overall visitor experience and to continue to support the research of 300 scientists who work here, much of which impacts on global research into biodiversity and climate change. 

Hintze Hall is probably best known as the home to the Diplodocus, Dippy, which was unveiled to the public in 1905. 

Sir Michael, who is the founder and CEO of CQS, a leading European asset management firm, is also co-Chairman of the Old Vic Endowment Trust and a Trustee of the National Gallery. 

Centre of scientific excellence

'Our gift recognises the Museum's great value as a cultural and scientific institution,' Sir Michael said. 'We feel privileged to be able to make a contribution towards securing this centre of scientific knowledge and research for present and future generations.'

The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation was established in 2005. Its support includes the restoration of Michaelangelo's frescoes in the Vatican, two major galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Oxford Foundation for Theoretical Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence. 

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said he would like to thank Sir Michael and Lady Hintze personally for this wonderful gesture. 

Between 80 and 90 per cent of the Museum's funding is received as grant-in-aid from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The rest comes from admission charges for special exhibitions, sponsorship, donations and commercial activities.