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Resilience, Learning, Innovation

In 2020, Smithsonian Affiliations adapted the National Conference to the moment we were in. We became a Virtual Conference almost overnight. We convened around ways to respond to the challenges of a global pandemic, racial injustice, and political divisiveness. We asked ourselves how our collaborations can tackle these critical conversations and ensure greater reach, greater relevance, and profound impact. Over three-months of programming, we heard from each other and laid the foundations for taking action and working together.

In the past year we have learned how to be resilient, to listen and learn from each other, and to be leaders in innovation. We invite you to join us in 2021 for our Smithsonian Affiliations Virtual Conference where our theme “Resilience, Learning, Innovation” will bring Smithsonian Affiliates and Smithsonian colleagues together to build upon the groundwork we have started.

  • Resilience: Many of our partners have shown remarkable capacity to adapt quickly and support their communities in times of turmoil, provided solace and stood together to respond and heal. As we grapple with the past year, how is/how has your organization supported your community, come back stronger, provided solace, or stood together to respond or heal?
  • Learning: We have seen our partners collaborate to help educators and educational institutions be more successful. How are you partnering or collaborating with community organizations to reach students, teachers, and caregivers? What are your stories of success, or challenges, when developing content to support PK-12 teachers and students?
  • Innovation: We have watched our colleagues and partners innovate in ways we never imagined before. How are you, your organization, and/or your team innovating to adapt to an ever changing 21st-century landscape? What innovations did you develop during the dual pandemics of covid-19 and racial injustice that you have continued to integrate into your programming, operations, community engagement or strategy?

Registration Information

Dates: Tuesday, October 26, 2021 – Thursday, October 28, 2021

Times: Each day will begin at 12:00 pm Eastern Time and conclude at 5:00 pm Eastern Time

Where: Smithsonian Affiliations Virtual Attendee Hub

Accessibility: Real-time captioning (CART) will be provided for conference. If you have questions about the accessibility of the virtual sessions or need to request additional accommodations, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee at Two weeks advance notice is appreciated for requesting additional accommodations..


  • Affiliate Institution (up to 25 individual registrations, full 3 days) – $225.00
  • Affiliate Staff Individual (full 3 days) – $125.00
  • Affiliate Executive Leadership Individual (full 3 days) – $125.00
  • Affiliate Speaker (full 3 days) – $100.00
  • Affiliate a la carte Session – $20.00 per session
  • Smithsonian Staff (full conference free to Smithsonian staff) – $0.00
  • Affiliate Executive Leadership Meetings Only (must be executive leadership at an Affiliate organization. Does not include any regular sessions) – $0.00

More questions about conference logistics? Visit our Conference FAQs page.

Questions or comments? Please email

The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Smithsonian Affiliates, Smithsonian staff members, and invited SITES Exhibitors only. If you are interested in learning more about a Smithsonian Affiliation, please contact us.