Smithsonian Affiliations Fact Sheet

Smithsonian Affiliations, established in 1996, is designed to facilitate a two-way relationship among Smithsonian Affiliates and the Smithsonian to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. The program establishes long-term relationships with museums and education and cultural organizations to facilitate the loan of Smithsonian artifacts and traveling exhibitions, as well as develop innovative educational collaborations locally and nationally.

There are more than 216 Smithsonian Affiliates in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. Affiliates represent the diversity of America’s museum community–size, location and subject–and serve all audiences. More than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts have been displayed at Affiliate locations. These loans reflect the entire Smithsonian collection: space capsules and aircraft from the National Air and Space Museum, Abraham Lincoln’s hat and Kermit the Frog from the National Museum of American History, sculptures and paintings from the Smithsonian art museums and ethnographic and mineral collections from the National Museum of Natural History, to name a few.

Millions of people have been able to experience the Smithsonian in their own communities through Smithsonian traveling exhibits and other Affiliate-sponsored programs such as Smithsonian Week in Riverside, Smithsonian CultureFest, Smithsonian Scholars in the Schools, teacher workshops and distance-learning programs, lectures and book tours, and performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.

Smithsonian Affiliations Benefits

  • Only Affiliates may use the Smithsonian Affiliations logo and tagline “in association with the Smithsonian.”
  • Current Affiliates may participate in the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in Washington, D.C., which offers Affiliate partners engaging sessions, productive workshops, networking opportunities and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.
  • “Two memberships in one”-Affiliates can participate in the Smithsonian Affiliations Membership Program, offering a Smithsonian membership at a discount to their own members.
  • Professional development-Affiliates can further their professional skills through the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional Program.
  • Affiliates have the opportunity for more in-depth collaboration by providing a national voice in Smithsonian initiatives through programs funded by Smithsonian internal grant competitions.

Stay connected with Smithsonian Affiliations by engaging with current Affiliates and the Smithsonian through various social media outlets, including The Affiliate Blog, Smithsonian Affiliations Facebook page, @SIAffiliates on Twitter and read The Affiliate newsletter on

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Elizabeth Bugbee, Communications and Professional Development Manager
(202) 633-5304

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Additional Fact Sheets from the Smithsonian Institution.