National Museum of American History Receives $1.5 Million Gift

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has received a $1.5 million donation from the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Charitable Trust and the Samuel J. LeFrak Foundation Inc. for the Star-Spangled Banner Campaign in support of the Museum’s renovations.

Samuel J. LeFrak was chairman of the LeFrak Organization, one of the nation’s largest private construction firms. Ethel LeFrak is involved with the philanthropic efforts of the LeFrak family foundations. Their daughter, Francine, has been a board member of the National Museum of American History since 2004. Their son, Richard S. LeFrak now leads the LeFrak Organization. The LeFrak family supports many other institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“The LeFrak family has been important in the development of New York City and influential across the country,” said Museum director Brent D. Glass. “It is wonderful to have the family involved in supporting the nation’s history Museum in Washington, D.C.”

The Museum is undergoing a major renovation focusing on three areas: architectural enhancements to the Museum’s interior; the construction of a state-of-the-art gallery for the Star-Spangled Banner; and updates to the 42-year-old building’s infrastructure. Construction began in fall 2006.

In recognition of the LeFrak family’s support of the Star-Spangled Banner Campaign, the National Museum of American History will name the new lobby of the Carmichael Auditorium the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Lobby.


The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum is closed for major renovations and will re-open in summer 2008. For information about the museum, please visit or call Smithsonian Information at (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).