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Smithsonian museum to create new education center

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian American Art Museum has received an $8 million gift to create an education center and says it will expand its reach to more U.S. classrooms.

The museum said Wednesday that it will create the 2,300-square-foot facility to host tour discussions, video conferences, workshops for teachers and graduate seminars. It is scheduled for completion in spring 2012.

The museum did not immediately disclose who gave the $8 million gift.

Museum director Elizabeth Broun says the center will use artworks to teach about the American experience. Part of the gift will fund an endowment to create new U.S. history and civics resources for teachers and students based on the museum’s best pieces.

Many of the museum’s education programs have focused on schools in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.