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.