The Carnegie Science Center Gets a $65M Gift and a New Name

Donors Daniel and Carole Kamin have been longtime patrons of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Digital rendering of large museum
Rendering of the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Science Center. Courtesy of the Science Center

Daniel Kamin, the owner of Kamin Realty Management, has long been a fan of science. As a child, the commercial real estate entrepreneur frequented Pittsburgh’s Buhl Planetarium, even crafting a telescope during one of his many visits.

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Now Kamin and his wife Carole are paying it forward by donating a historic $65 million to the science institution, which in 1991 was renamed the Carnegie Science Center. The center will once again get a new name as it becomes the Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin Science Center in recognition of the couple’s gift.

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The Science Center is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, a consortium that includes the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and The Andy Warhol Museum. Excluding the original contribution of its founder Andrew Carnegie, the Kamins’ donation is the largest monetary gift given to any of the museums, according to the group’s CEO and president, Steven Knapp. “Their forward-looking generosity will establish a firm foundation for the Science Center as it expands its capacity to inform and inspire its audiences within and beyond our region,” said Knapp in a statement.

Four people stand on a podium and uncover a photograph of the new museum
Daniel Kamin (far left) and Carole Kamin (far right) are longtime benefactors of the Carnegie Museums. Alisa Innocenti

Who are Daniel and Carole Kamin?

The Pittsburgh couple have close ties to the Carnegie Museums. In addition to serving as an emeritus member of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History advisory board and member of the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Women’s Committee, Carole previously worked as a buyer and manager for the museums’ gift shops.

This isn’t the first time they have made a significant financial contribution to the museum consortium—in 2016, they committed $5 million to permanently endow the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s director position, which is currently held by Gretchen Baker. The following year they were inaugurated into the Carnegie Noble Quartet Society, which recognizes donors who have given more than $1 million to the family of museums.

Daniel and Carole founded the Daniel G. Kamin and Carole L. Kamin Fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation in 2011 to carry on the family’s legacy by supporting institutions focused on the arts, historic preservation and the environment. Their recent gifts, however, have primarily gone to health-oriented organizations like Family House, a nonprofit that provides housing for patients traveling to Pittsburgh for medical treatment, which received $1.2 million from the couple last November. And in 2022, the Kamins gave $1.5 million to support a new vision and rehabilitation institute at Pittsburgh’s UPMC Mercy Pavilion.

Their newest gift consists of an initial contribution to the Science Center’s endowment and a bequest. It will aid the institution as it invests in new exhibitions and transforms its riverfront campus, according to a statement from Jason Brown, the center’s director and vice president of Carnegie Museums.

“This gift tells a great story—a young boy from Pittsburgh is inspired by his time spent exploring the region’s beloved science museum and, decades later, now makes a history-making gift to the very organization to inspire future generations in the same way he was,” said Brown. “It’s the embodiment of our mission and shows how someone can come full circle from being the inspired young person to helping to provide the same opportunities for the next generation.”

The Carnegie Science Center Gets a $65M Gift and a New Name