Smithsonian Affiliations creates long-term relationships with museums and other cultural and educational organizations to fulfill the Smithsonian’s mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” and to advance the Smithsonian’s Strategic Plan. 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.
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.
In the June 2020 application round, preference will be given to organizations:
- In states where we do not currently have Affiliates (Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Utah)
- That have previously worked with the Smithsonian on research, exhibition development, collections sharing, educational program development or in other professional capacities
- With strong research, collections, exhibition, and/or educational programs in the Smithsonian’s current priority topic areas, including American women’s history and Earth Optimism
- With specific ideas for collaboration with one or more Smithsonian museums or research centers
Affiliates that get the most out of their association with the Smithsonian have both the financial and staff capacity to engage regularly with the Smithsonian on a range of different activities. Each Smithsonian Affiliate pays an annual fee of $3,000. In addition, there are costs to participate in programs and activities with Smithsonian museums and research centers. These fees are separate from and are not reduced by the annual Affiliations fee. Charges by Smithsonian museums and programs vary depending on the type and scope of collaboration activities. As examples, travel, lodging, and per diem are required to bring curators, educators, and others to present public programs, conduct training, and provide professional consultation. Traveling exhibitions can have rental fees, as well as costs associated with insurance, packing and shipping, conservation, copyright clearances, installation and de-installation, security, and travel. Artifact loans have many of these same costs.