WASHINGTON — Wal-Mart has donated $5 million to help build the Smithsonian's planned National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

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The gift announced Tuesday makes the world's largest retailer a founding donor for the project. Construction is scheduled to begin on a site near the Washington Monument next year, with the museum opening in fall 2015.

Wal-Mart also supported construction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which was recently dedicated in Washington.

The Smithsonian is working to privately raise about half of the $500 million cost for the new museum. Congress has pledged to provide the other half of the funding. In 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation gave $10 million to help start the effort.


National Museum of African American History and Culture: http://nmaahc.si.edu