About Us

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex dedicated to the “increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithsonian Affiliations develops long-term partnerships with museums and educational organizations to make our collections and resources widely available.

Our network of more than 200 Affiliate organizations collaborates with the Smithsonian – and with each other – to create experiences that educate and inspire. We facilitate the loan of artifacts that complement an exhibition or mark a “coming home” for a cultural icon in an Affiliate neighborhood. We share our people, whose speaking engagements inspire families to make unexpected discoveries. And we connect Affiliates with each other to broaden perspectives through distance learning programs and traveling exhibits.

Through Affiliate collaborations, the Smithsonian reaches millions of visitors each year and many times more in classrooms and online with engaging and innovative learning opportunities. By sharing our collective resources with communities near and far, we create a greater impact on those we serve.

Smithsonian Affiliate collaborations include:

  • Special traveling exhibitions such as Destination Moon, organized for travel by Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service; and Pop Art Prints, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • Artifact loans that augment an Affiliate’s exhibition or permanent collection such as the return of the legendary racehorse Lexington’s skeleton to his birthplace in Kentucky; or conserving a Smithsonian artifact like the Pioneer locomotive to be included in an Affiliate exhibition about the Civil War.
  • Unique, grant-funded youth programs such as Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos which exposes students to the art and science of space.
  • Public lectures by Smithsonian scholars on a wide range of topics–the Hope Diamond, Mars Rover, First Ladies, Norman Rockwell, Latino history, and much more.
  • Unique programs such as Latinos and Baseball: In the Barrios and the Big Leagues that serve to preserve and collect the stories and artifacts of regular people throughout Affiliate communities.

Our dream is big — to enrich lives by expanding the boundaries of the Smithsonian outside Washington, D.C.– and to make our work, our collections, and our research more widely accessible to communities throughout America.

Video courtesy of Historic Annapolis and Comcast Newsmakers.

Video courtesy of Smithsonian Institution.

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? View our map to locate an Affiliate near you!