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 creates long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with museums and other cultural and educational organizations to fulfill the Smithsonian’s mission.

Our Vision

Strengthen connections between the Smithsonian and museums and cultural organizations—and their communities and audiences everywhere—inspiring a deeper understanding of our world and how it can be changed for the better.

Our Mission

We catalyze public engagement and spark curiosity and learning by connecting the knowledge, resources, and expertise of the Smithsonian with a vital network of cultural and educational organizations.

Our network of more than 200 Affiliate organizations collaborates with the Smithsonian – and with each other – to create experiences that educate and inspire.

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.

Visit our FAQ section for more information about Smithsonian Affiliations.

SITES | Smithsonian Affiliations Annual Report

Cover of the 2021 Annual Report

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and Smithsonian Affiliations achieved noteworthy milestones in fiscal year 2021: debuting several new exhibitions, welcoming four new Affiliates, implementing a nationwide museum-based internship program, and launching a five-year strategic plan. Read more in the 2021 Annual Report: Facing the Challenge.

Download the Annual Report (PDF)


Cover Page of 25th anniversary publication

Stronger Together: Smithsonian Affiliations Celebrates 25 Years

Smithsonian Affiliations celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021. We are grateful for the collaboration of the Affiliate network and look forward to continuing our work together in connecting communities near and far to the Smithsonian.

Together, we have reached millions of people through educational programs, traveling exhibitions, scholarship, and community engagement initiatives.

Download the Smithsonian Affiliations Celebrates 25 Years publication. (PDF)

Cover page of the strategic plan depicting two people in a musuemLooking Back, Moving Forward: Strategic Plan 2021-2026

The 2021-2026 Strategic Plan for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations will guide our work in the coming years.

To learn more, download our Strategic Plan using the link below. We welcome your feedback and look forward to doing this work together!

Download the SITES | Smithsonian Affiliations Strategic Plan (PDF)

Is the Smithsonian in your neighborhood? Find an Affiliate near you!