At Smithsonian Affiliations, we work with Affiliates to develop experiences that reflect their communities and their values and offer opportunities to collaborate with their community members. We can develop and foster authentic engagement by identifying and deeply listening to those who make up our community.
We think of community not as a monolithic entity but as a collection of different groups of people, each with individual needs and interests. For example, you could serve a community of people who all live in the same geographic location, have a common identity such as race or gender, or share the same interests.
We see the Affiliate network as a robust community of professionals who all share a commitment to education and public service. Which of these types of communities does your organization serve or want to serve? How can you use Smithsonian content, resources, and expertise to help you speak authentically to and reflect these different communities through programming, exhibitions, and other activities?
Building on the considerations of geography, identity, and affinity of community, how might you work with the Smithsonian to bring these unique voices closer to your programs and exhibitions and ensure that they are represented in your work? You can explore with Affiliations, your team, and even your community what it means to engage with integrity, intention, and authenticity.
Authentic co-creation with your community on things like educational programing, exhibitions, and events is key to developing trust and mutual respect. Through stewardship of your community relationships, we can ensure that our work is driven by, includes, and reflects our community.
National to Local Stories
Smithsonian Affiliations collaborates with museums and educational and cultural organizations to bring the Smithsonian to your neighborhood. We support you in articulating your story within and alongside the larger narratives told by the Smithsonian.
Here are some examples of how we have worked with Affiliates to support their work. How does this inspire you? We encourage you to include your ideas in the Statement of Purpose included in your Affiliate application.
Men of Change: Taking it to the Streets
Men of Change: Power. Triumph. Truth.
This is a tool to reflect on your own organization’s work as you consider whether affiliating with the Smithsonian is right for your organization.
Ready to keep learning? Keep exploring!
Get in touch with one of our National Outreach Managers now…