Cartersville, GA, October 29, 2020–
A legacy of support through three generations continues with a recent $750,000 gift to Tellus Science Museum from Michael “Mike” Mayo Macke. In honor of the gift, Tellus has named the largest space in the museum the “Michael Mayo Macke Great Hall”.
“This is the largest donation we have received from an individual,” said Tellus executive director Jose Santamaria. “It is an important recognition of the work we are doing here as well as the continuation of a family legacy of supporting science education at Tellus.”
When asked why he supports the museum, Mike explained, “Having grown up as a curious child with my grandfather as a role model, I was always fascinated by the geological sciences and exploration. Following in his footsteps, I wanted to support Tellus Science Museum, which will be a source of inspiration for the children growing up in Georgia. Open-minded curiosity is the basis of science. Museums help create a future Newton or Einstein, who will help the civilization at large to increase their appreciation of the universe a bit more than what we know now. I am proud and humbled by the lasting benefits and enjoyment this gift brings my family, friends, and the visitors of Tellus Science Museum.”
Support from the family began with Mike’s grandparents, Atlanta native Frank Mayo, a chemist and passionate mineral collector who picked up many treasures during his travels around the world with his wife Winnifred “Winnie” Layton Mayo. When Winnie passed away in 1984, Frank honored her memory by funding the expansion of the Weinman Mineral Museum, the predecessor to Tellus. After his death, Frank’s passion for philanthropy and science was passed on to his four daughters Bebe, Vesta, Carolyn, and Charlotte, who continued their father’s legacy of financial support for many years until they too passed away. In addition to annual contributions, Mike’s mother Vesta bequeathed $100,000 from her estate to Tellus in 2017. In 2018, the Mayo family was awarded the Patron of the Year award from the Georgia Association of Museums for their ongoing support of Tellus Science Museum.
Mike Macke has continued the Mayo family’s tradition of annual support, including his most recent major gift to the museum. A successful businessman and a serial and self-made entrepreneur, Mike used his computer programming skills to became a pioneer in designing, manufacturing, and distributing innovative electronic gaming equipment. He has captured industry recognition for his innovations, understanding of emerging technology, and anticipation of new trends and growing markets during his 35 years in the gaming industry. Mike is also a real estate investor with multiple high-profile investments across the globe.
“It is obvious our standards and quality of life keep increasing and the fundamental reason is science. Science has cured diseases and improved human life. Science has brought electricity and water to many poor and remote places thereby expanding economic opportunity for all. People can visit the museum and get a glimpse of how science interacts with everything around us. Whether it is the interest and study of fossils and dinosaurs, gems and minerals, chemistry and the periodic table, or space and the stars, it is all there. My hope is that this donation will go a long way in nurturing the spirit of science and exploration in young minds of Georgia,” Mike explained.
The gift was received by the museum at the end of 2019, with plans for a celebration and dedication in the spring. COVID-19 delayed event plans. With uncertainty as to when the pandemic would subside, the decision was made to not wait any longer and to move forward with plans to rename the Great Hall to publicly recognize the gift. “Mike and his family have been invaluable to the museum. A gift like this helps us to sustain our future. His name over the Great Hall represents a family legacy of commitment to Tellus.”
Tellus Science Museum is a program of Georgia Museums, Inc., which includes Booth Western Art Museum, Savoy Automobile Museum, and Bartow History Museum. The Smithsonian Affiliate is a 120,000 square foot science museum located in Cartersville, just north of Atlanta. For more information about Tellus Science Museum call (770) 606-5700 or visit www.tellusmuseum.org or www.facebook.com/tellusmuseum.