Help - Member Policies
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1. Why are there so many Smithsonian memberships?
The Smithsonian offers many membership options to reflect the varied tastes and interests of its supporters. Depending on the interest, individuals can choose to support the activities of a particular museum, the National Zoo or a research institute. There are three Smithsonian-wide memberships—Smithsonian Associates, Friends of the Smithsonian, and National Associates—each offering different, valuable benefits.
2. Why should I support Smithsonian Associates?
Smithsonian Associates puts the Smithsonian's vast knowledge network at your fingertips. Although Smithsonian Associates is part of the Smithsonian, we receive no federal funds, relying on individual contributions to help bridge the gap between program expenses and ticket revenues.
When you join Smithsonian Associates as a member, you receive many valuable benefits such as savings up to 35% on tickets to most of the 750 educational and cultural programs annually, discounts at Smithsonian museum shops, several museum restaurants, Smithsonian catalogue, SmithsonianStore.com, exclusive members-only programs, and much more.
3. What is the difference between a Smithsonian Associates membership, a Friends of the Smithsonian membership, and a National Associate membership? (show/hide answer)
A Smithsonian Associates membership directly supports Smithsonian Associates programing and outreach efforts. Membership support is crucial to carry on our work.
Friends of the Smithsonian is a national membership which helps fund research, outreach, exhibitions, and scholarship across all Smithsonian museums and programs.
The National Associate membership is an introductory membership that includes Smithsonian magazine.
4. Can I transfer my Friends of the Smithsonian or National Associate membership to a Smithsonian Associates membership?
Yes; Friends of the Smithsonian and National Associate members may transfer to the Smithsonian Associates to show their support and receive enhanced benefits. Simply call 202-633-3030 or email us at CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org
5. How do I purchase a gift certificate or give a gift membership?
You can purchase a gift certificate on our website at Gift Certificates.
You may also call 202-633-3030 and speak to a customer service representative. Your gift recipient will receive notification of your generosity in approximately two weeks from the time we receive your order.
6. When can I expect to receive my first Smithsonian magazine and the Smithsonian Associates program guide after signing up for membership? (show/hide answer)
It takes six to eight weeks for you to receive your first Smithsonian magazine and four to six weeks for the Smithsonian Associates program guide.
7. How long does it take to get my Smithsonian Associates membership card after purchasing a membership?
You will receive your membership package which includes your membership card and other pertinent information in ten working days.
8. How do I change my address?
You can change your address online by visiting the My Account section. You may also write us with your new address (please allow 6 weeks for the change to take effect).
Registration Tips, Tickets, and Policies FAQ
The Smithsonian Institution reserves the right to cancel, substitute individual
speakers and/or session topics within a course, reschedule or relocate any
course or event because of insufficient enrollments, unanticipated scheduling
conflicts or emergency situations.
The Smithsonian Institution also reserves the right
to refuse to register any individual or to require any participant to withdraw
from an activity at any time when such action is determined by the Smithsonian
staff to be in the best interests of the health,
safety, or general welfare of the entire group or the participant.
Please note that tickets purchased within 10 business days of an event's start date will not be mailed and will be held at Will Call at the event location.
In case you forget or lose your ticket, your name will be on the event roster, and you will be admitted to the program.
1. How can I purchase tickets? (show/hide information)
Online: Tickets may be ordered online after logging in. Your membership level will determine how many member
rate tickets you can order. If you are not a member or have not registered on our website, you will need to do so to
submit an order. As you place tickets in the shopping cart, your tickets will be locked/reserved for you
up to approximately 20 minutes. If you do not complete your order by then, the tickets will be released
and you will have to add them again in order to complete a purchase. An online receipt page will be
displayed upon completion. You will also be sent a confirming email.
By Phone: Please call 202-633-3030 (voice), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, to register with your Discover Card, VISA, American Express, or MasterCard. Please have the activity code numbers or activity dates and times available.
By Fax: Please fax your order to 202-786-2034 to register with your Discover Card, VISA,
American Express or MasterCard. Please include activity code numbers, dates,
times, and the number of each type of ticket you desire.
By Mail: Smithsonian Associates
P.O. Box 23293
Washington, D.C. 20026-3293
Include activity code numbers, dates, times, and the number of each type of ticket
you desire. Payment may be submitted by Discover Card, VISA, American Express,
MasterCard, or personal check.
At the Door: Tickets are available (on a first-come, first-served basis) at the door of some programs. Call 202-633-3030 for availability.
2. How do I use a promotion code discount? (show/hide answer)
To receive a promotion code discount for an event, enter the promotion code when you log in to the website. If the promotion code is still valid, it will display a promotion price on the event description page.
3. What happens if an event is sold out? (show/hide answer)
If an activity is sold out before we receive your mailed-in reservation, (a) you will not be charged if you paid by credit card. However, if you
sent a check, Smithsonian accounting procedures require that it be cashed.
A full refund by Smithsonian check is automatically processed. (b) your
name is placed on a notification list for the filled event. If a vacancy
occurs, people on this list are notified in order of receipt of their application.
If a filled event is later rescheduled, applicants on the notification list
receive a mailing prior to any announcement in the Associate program guide.
4. How are event changes in published schedules handled? (show/hide answer)
Occasionally we must change the time, date, or location of a program after an announcement has been published or tickets have been mailed. We notify participants by phone, email, and/or mail. Call 202-633-3030 during business hours for information.
5. What is the photography/filming policy? (show/hide answer)
Participants at Smithsonian Associates programs may be photographed or filmed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian Associates. Filming and/or photographing by participants at these programs is not permitted.
6. What are the ticketing fees? (show/hide answer)
There is an additional $3.00 nonrefundable handling fee per order on phone orders. There is no handling fee for online orders. There is a $2.50 per ticket processing fee on most tickets, except for Members-Only free events, Summer Camps, Smithsonian Sleepovers, and Discovery Theater shows.
Refund Policy FAQ
Smithsonian Associates will issue refunds only in cases when a program is canceled or if it is filled before we receive your order.
The Smithsonian Institution reserves the right to cancel, substitute speakers and session topics within a course, and reschedule or relocate any program because of insufficient enrollment, scheduling conflicts, or emergencies. The Institution also reserves the right to refuse to register any individual or to require any participant to withdraw from an activity if the Smithsonian staff representative deems such action to be in the best interests of the health, safety, or welfare of the group or the participant.
Customer ticket cancellations
Credit for cancellations or exchanges are only available for programs that cost more than $40. If in compliance with the specific cancellation guidelines, customer refund credit is issued to your Smithsonian Associates account, not your credit card. Credits are non-transferable.
Lectures, Seminars, Performances, Films, Studio Arts, One-day Study Tours Refund Policy:
If the member price for a program is more than $40, please contact customer
service in writing at least two weeks before the program date to request a credit
(See email, mail, and fax contact information above.) Please note that there is a $10
cancellation fee. The cost of some components of tickets—such as entrance fees, theater
tickets, various food programs and meals, and airline and other transportation—may
not be able to be credited.
Courses Refund Policy:
To receive credit for a course, please contact Customer Service in writing at least two weeks
before the first session. Credit will also be issued within two weekdays after the first session,
if Customer Service is contacted within that period. Credit will be prorated to reflect the cost
of the first session. No credit will be given after the start of the second session. Please
note that there is a $10 cancellation fee. THIS REFUND POLICY DOES NOT APPLY TO STUDIO ARTS CLASSES.
Overnight Study Tours Refund Policy:
To receive credit for an overnight tour, please contact Customer Service
in writing at least 45 days before the tour date. At that point, there is
a $10 cancellation fee. If your request is received between 45 and 15 days before
the tour, cancellation fee is $100. No credit will be issued for cancellations
received fewer than 15 days before the tour date.
The cost of some components of tickets—such as entrance fees, theater tickets, various food programs and meals, and airline and other transportation—may not be able to be credited
If you are unable to use the ticket(s) you have purchased for a Smithsonian Associates (TSA) program or class, you may release them to the Smithsonian Associates Box Office and receive a letter of donation within three weeks. Ticketing and service fees paid may not be used as a donation. There is no service charge for returning unused tickets as a donation.
Please note that tickets returned for an event that has already occurred will not be considered as a donation (no exceptions).
What are the policies for sold-out activities?
If an activity is sold out before we receive your mailed-in reservation, (a) you will not be charged if you paid by credit card. However, if you sent a check, Smithsonian accounting procedures require that it be cashed. A full refund by Smithsonian check is automatically processed. (b) your name is placed on a notification list for the filled event. If a vacancy occurs, people on this list are notified in order of receipt of their application. If a filled event is later rescheduled, applicants on the notification list receive a mailing prior to any announcement in the Associate.
What are the policies for Summer Camp Refunds?
A 75% refund will be issued if a request is received in writing (by email, fax, or U.S. Mail) at least four weeks before the start of the camp(s) for which you are registered. No refunds or changes will be made thereafter. Camps are nontransferable. No refunds by phone.
What are the policies for Art Collectors Refunds?
If, for any reason, you are not pleased with your purchase you may return it, undamaged, within 15 days of receipt for a refund of the full purchase price. All Certificates of Authenticity must be returned along with the art.
In the unlikely event that an item is damaged due to shipping, contact us at 202-633-8680 or email Artcollectors@si.edu within 5 days of receipt to make arrangements for replacement.
Please inspect your purchase when you receive it. We suggest that you frame the print as soon as possible on acid free mounting and acid free mats to maintain the integrity of the print.
Visitors with Disabilities FAQ
1. What are the Smithsonian Associates capabilities for handicapped access?
Smithsonian Associates seeks to
make activities accessible to people with disabilities.
Patrons with disabilities are encouraged to call before
registering for programs to inquire about the
accessibility of the presentations and locations. For
information or to request accessibility assistance,
please call 202-633-3030 (voice) or send an e-mail to
2. What are the Smithsonian Associates capabilities for interpreters?
Interpreters for Smithsonian Associates programs and
special events are provided free of charge. The
Smithsonian Associates will make the arrangements
through the Smithsonian Accessibility Program if
requests for interpreters are made at least two weeks
in advance of the program.