Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term, high quality partnerships with museums and educational organizations in order to share collections, exhibitions, learning opportunities, and research expertise. Visitors to affiliated organizations experience the Smithsonian in their neighborhood where they may view major works of art, historic objects of flight, wonders of nature, icons of American history, and other artifacts, artworks, and scientific specimens from the national collections. Smithsonian Affiliations also reaches across the country with special educational programs designed for museums, schools, and centers serving pre-school, K-12 students, and adult learners. The Smithsonian Affiliations network provides new and unforeseen avenues for regional, cultural, topical and audience-oriented types of support and collaboration.
Smithsonian Affiliates enjoy these unique benefits of becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate:
- An assigned National Outreach Manager who serves as a direct liaison to all Smithsonian museums, research centers, and education/outreach offices
- Exclusive use of the Smithsonian Affiliate logo and tagline: “in association with the Smithsonian”
- Ability to borrow objects from the Smithsonian on a long-term basis
- First notice of Smithsonian speakers, authors, workshops, distance learning programs, webinars, and special exhibitions
- Custom-developed education, performing arts, and public programs
- Inclusion in grant-funded research and education programs
- Attendance at the Affiliations Annual National Conference
- Discounted Smithsonian memberships for individual members of affiliated organizations (includes subscription to Smithsonian Magazine or Air & Space)
- Stipended professional development opportunities
- Promotion through Smithsonian Affiliations websites and social media
- Behind-the-scenes tours and special event coordination
- Access to a network of supportive organizations, host venues, and shared expertise
Participation in the Smithsonian Affiliations program is open to any non-profit 501(c)(3) with a current Form 990 on file with the IRS; or public institutions and agencies associated with state or local government. Affiliate organizations represent a broad range of learning institutions including history, art, and science museums, universities and university-based museums, discovery centers, historic sites, zoos, aquaria, libraries, archives, foundations, cultural organizations and schools. Interested organizations must submit an application with all the requisite documents (see How to Apply). The Smithsonian considers proposals from organizations that share a common mission, a commitment to education and public service, and have the capability of bringing Smithsonian artifacts, exhibits, and programs to their venues.
Affiliates must be organized as either: non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) designations and a current Form 990 on file with the IRS; or public institutions and agencies associated with state or local governments.
Application Review and Acceptance
The application review process is typically completed in 30 to 60 days. Applicants may be called upon during the review process to provide additional or clarifying information, and will be notified when the review has been completed. Once accepted into the program, affiliating organizations must sign a Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Agreement (available upon request), and must commit to paying the annual Smithsonian Affiliations membership fee, currently $3,000 per year.
Agreement Time Frame
The Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Agreement is intended to establish a long-term partnership between the Smithsonian and an affiliating organization. There is no time limit; the partnership and can last as long as both parties find it mutually beneficial. The Affiliation can be terminated at any time at the request of the affiliating organization. The Smithsonian also retains the right to suspend or terminate the partnership if the affiliating organization fails to fulfill its obligations as stipulated in the agreement.
Contact Us Before Applying
Organizations interested in learning more about the program or in applying to become a Smithsonian Affiliate are highly encouraged to contact the Smithsonian Affiliations office before completing or submitting the application materials.