Participation in the Smithsonian Affiliations program is open to any qualified 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 museums and other educational and cultural organizations. Like the Smithsonian, Affiliates are committed to education and public service, and have the capability to bring Smithsonian content, resources, and expertise, including educational programs, exhibitions, and other activities to their communities. Affiliates work in collaboration with the Smithsonian to catalyze critical conversations in their communities, introduce issues of historic and contemporary importance, and help their audiences to better understand the world around them.
To become a Smithsonian Affiliate, an organization must have a physical location where it currently provides services and/or activities for the public and must be open to the public on a consistent and predictable schedule. Organizations under development, not yet open or temporarily closed to the public are not eligible.