Experience and Enjoy the Smithsonian as an Insider
The Smithsonian Associates offers unparalleled access to the Smithsonian's world of knowledge through innovative, engaging programming that promotes learning, enrichment, and creativity for people of all ages.
The largest museum-based educational program in the world, The Smithsonian Associates annually offers more than 750 seminars, performances, lectures, studio art classes, and local and regional study tours. Performances at Discovery Theater and more than 80 educationally focused summer camps are among the programs that fosters the joys of learning for young people and their families.
Take a Look at What We Do
Conversations with fascinating people
Pioneering scientists, authors, performers, political leaders, and sports personalities—they've all joined us for informal, candid, and surprising sessions. From Betty White to Joe Torre, choreographer Mark Morris to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Adam G. Reiss, to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, audiences get a close-up look at notables who share our world.
Programs, seminars, courses, and more
The monthly calendar offers a stimulating and entertaining range of events covering the full scope of the humanities, sciences, and arts. Join experts in everything from archeology to literature to high-tech espionage as they share insights, discoveries, and new ideas.
One-of-a-kind performances and music programs
With resident ensembles that include the Emerson String Quartet, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the season is filled with music. Come for an evening of romantic guitar music, Gershwin or Johnny Mercer tunes, or a course on the operas of Verdi and Wagner. And programs on classic songwriters led by John Eaton or Rob Kapilow's "What Makes It Great?" series are just the ticket for music lovers.
Tours that travel through history and the imagination
Follow roads that lead to sites of Civil War battles or Frank Lloyd Wright masterworks, stunning exhibitions at museums along the East Coast, scenic railways, or the Philadelphia Flower Show. You'll also find plenty of chances to go behind the scenes at Smithsonian museums and facilities.
An after-hours mix of cocktails and culture
Our Mingle at the Museum evenings shake up traditional ideas of visiting the Smithsonian. Sip something cool as you get a private view of new exhibitions, meet curators and creators for conversation, and enjoy a convivial evening with fellow museum lovers. It's the best—and most artful—cocktail party in town.
Studio arts courses that bring color to your life
Want to tap into your creative side? Whether you're inspired to pick up a paint brush, camera, charcoal pencil, or calligrapher's pen, there's a whole palette of choices waiting for you. Explore collage or fiber arts, mosaics or neon art, all under the guidance of professional artists and crafts experts.
There's Even More to The Smithsonian Associates
Discovery Theater has presented educational performance at the Smithsonian to young people and their families since 1979. With programs that enrich the Smithsonian experience, Discovery Theater is a gateway to the exhibits, collections, and themes contained in the museums and galleries on the Mall and in our community.
Smithsonian Summer Camps
Now in its 44th year, summer camps at The Smithsonian Associates open all corners of the various museums for more than 80 week-long camp sessions of great learning and great fun. The wide variety selection of camps for children of all interests offers the chance to explore everything from traditional arts and crafts to playwriting, science, and animation.
MA in the History of Decorative Arts
Offered in partnership with George Mason University, this unique program is designed for students who want to integrate the history of decorative arts into the study of art history and cultural studies. Drawing on the staff and resources of the Smithsonian, as well as other area museums and private collections, the program offers an unparalleled opportunity for study and specialization.
Smithsonian Associates Art Collectors Program
Smithsonian-commissioned contemporary fine art prints and posters by acclaimed American artists are available exclusively in this collection. The limited-edition prints are numbered and signed and come with a certificate of authenticity.
National Education Outreach
National Education Outreach facilitates community programs nationwide by engaging Smithsonian researchers, historians, educators and other museum professionals to share their expertise with students, teachers, and the general public. Programs are tailored to each organization and may include lectures, performances, hands-on workshops, professional development seminars, and special events.
Join Us as a Member!
Becoming a member of the Smithsonian Associates is one of the smartest and easiest ways to become a Washington insider, offering access to programs and events that simply can't be matched.
There's a range of valuable benefits, including early ticket access, discounts, and more. In addition, members play a vital role in assuring that our tradition of excellence continues. Although The Smithsonian Associates is part of the Smithsonian, we receive no federal funds—relying instead on support from individual supporters at all levels to help bridge the gap between program expenses and ticket revenues.