Ken Behring and Museums
Founder and Chairman of Wheelchair Foundation, Ken Behring gives his full commitment to help the impoverished people with physical disabilities by giving them free wheelchairs. Over the years, his wheelchair distribution trips to Africa have increased his love for nature. Ken Behring has become keen on collecting mounted animals and sponsoring animal specimen exhibitions at first-class museums. He hopes his efforts will enable those who do not have opportunities to experience the wild to share the sense of wonder he has enjoyed.
In the fall of 2003, the Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals opened in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. The 25,000-square-foot gallery took three years to complete and houses 274 specimens of a wide variety. The impressive scope and unique presentation has set a standard for the other halls of the Smithsonian, as well as for museums around the world.
Ken Behring started to develop animal exhibitions in China in 2004. In December that year, Spider Hall was opened to the public at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. The spider exhibition has the perfect combination of educational display, artistic style and interactive games. The exhibits include the largest meat-eating spider on the earth as well as a variety of spiders from all over the world. The exhibition has been greatly welcomed by visitors, especially children, ever since it opened.
In May 2006 and April 2007, two other mammal halls opened respectively in the natural history museums of Dalian and Beijing cities. Both of the exhibitions house more than one hundred specimens from Africa, North America and EuroAsia. The exhibitions boast a record number of large mounted animals and are elaborate in presentation. Each section of the exhibition has a different theme, with some even having a story line to introduce a true Africa, such as the food chain starting with a lion hunting a deer. The exhibitions not only showcase the beauty of animals but also build a natural surrounding that is true to life.
The World Animal Exhibition at Shanghai Science and Technology Museum is another gift from Ken Behring to Shanghai Science and Education Development Foundation. Opened in September 2007, the exhibition is even larger in scope than the previous two, and has more multi-media installations. 170 animal specimens of 106 different types spread out in a man-made rainforest, wetland and arctic ice field in a 2,000 square-meter gallery. Madam Yin Yicui, the Vice Party Secretary of CPC Shanghai, attended the opening ceremony and unveiled the gallery with Ken Behring.
Currently, Ken Behring is also helping the museums of Yangzhou and Tianjin to hold mammal exhibitions. The official openings are scheduled in April and October of 2008.
Besides the donation of animal specimens, Ken Behring also supports museums with his large collection of antique cars. He offered 62 antique cars for free exhibition at Shanghai Automobile Museum when he learned that the museum had a difficult time finding exhibits. In October 2006, the Kenneth E. Behring Antique Car Hall opened to the public. The antique cars on display are worth more than 100 million dollars and used to be exhibited at Ken Behring’s Blackhawk Auto Museum in California.