At Smithsonian Affiliations, we work with our Affiliates to help them curate their educational programming with community in mind. Together, we aim to identify resources from the Smithsonian to build out their offerings.
Learning Audience and Goals
As with all things, we encourage you to start with your community to understand how you might best build on your current offerings in ways that support your audience’s needs. As we work with Affiliates on educational programs, we encourage them to:
- Identify opportunities and needs in their community to best support their learners.
- Specify the intended audience. Rather than trying to be “all things to all people,” consider who can best be served with available resources and expertise.
- Determine what you want to communicate or teach through the program.
- Establish learning goals and objectives. What will visitors learn, understand, or be able to do as a result of their participation?
- Think about how the Smithsonian’s content and resources can add to, amplify, and/or bring new perspectives to their programming.
Collaboration and Capacity
In addition to understanding one’s audience, we encourage Affiliates to identify strategic collaborators within their communities. This may include community organizations, preK-12 schools and program, and colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations.
In order to have sustaining impact, being clear about your capacity to initiate, execute, and maintain exceptional programming is critical. This includes—but is not limited to— financial and staff resources.
How might you best leverage Smithsonian connections to make a difference? Other partnerships or collaborations can bring additional capacity, resources, and expertise to a program or project.
Leveraging Smithsonian Resources
As an Affiliate, you can leverage the Smithsonian and its resources to shape and augment collaborations with community partners. You can work with the Affiliations team to explore opportunities to collaborate with the Smithsonian on educational programs. We think of these offerings not as a menu of options but as a collaboration that is developed and shaped to fit the needs of your organization and audience.
While Affiliations is not a grant-making organization, we periodically receive funding that allows us to offer small awards to Affiliates to participate in various opportunities. These projects link to Smithsonian priorities and allow Affiliates to engage with their communities in new or expanded ways. Through these projects, the Smithsonian is able to understand how its resources and expertise relate to and impact diverse communities; Affiliates are able to build capacity in catalyzing community engagement.
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 narrative 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.
The National Youth Summit
The National Youth Summit in Los Angeles
Smithsonian Science How
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Reaching for the Stars Together
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…