Lectures, Seminars & Courses
1. How can I find out about changes in published event schedules?
Occasionally Smithsonian Associates must change the time, date, or location of a program after an announcement has been published or tickets have been mailed. Our office notifies participants by phone, email, and/or mail. If you are uncertain about where and when a program is to take place, please call us at 202-633-3030, M-F, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A recorded announcement on our 24-hour automated hotline lists events and locations for that day. Friday's recorded announcement also includes the weekend events and tours.
2. Can I purchase tickets at the door?
Tickets are available (on a first-come, first-served basis) at the door of some Smithsonian Associates events. Tickets for tours and studio arts workshops are not available at the door. Please call 202-633-3030 to be sure that the event is not already sold out.
3. What is your policy on photographing and recording events?
Participants in Smithsonian Associates member activities may be photographed or videotaped for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian Associates. The taping and/or photographing of concerts or lectures by participants at these events (except tours) is not permitted.
4. How do I find out about cancellations due to inclement weather?
Please visit our website or you may
call 202-633-3030 anytime for the latest activity information. For Local Study
Tours recorded updates and information, call 202-633-8687.
5. Why am I only able to order tickets at non-member prices, even though I am member?
If you are a current Smithsonian Associates member, have logged in, and still see only a zero in the Member rate tickets drop-down menu, you might be logging in with a duplicate account that is not associated to your membership record.
Call us at 202-633-3030 during business hours or send us an email at CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org to get your account user name and an email to reset your password. You will then be able to purchase tickets at member prices. Your membership level will determine how many member rate tickets you can order.
1. How can I find out about last minute tour updates?
You may call our 24-hour automated hotline at 202-633-8687 for up to date
tour information. If you have any concerns about weather, we suggest you
call our tour hotline prior to departing from home on your tour date.
2. How can I order a meal that fits my dietary needs (food allergies
/ vegetarian) on a tour that includes a meal?
Please call 202-633-8624 at least one week prior to your tour to discuss
any dietary needs.
3. Where can I find the fringe stops listed in the Associate program guide?
4. I have a medical condition that necessitates a special seat on
a bus, how can I ensure that my needs are met?
Our policy regarding special seating is to fax a doctor’s note and
written request to 202-633-9250. This can also be mailed to:
Smithsonian Local Tours
Washington, DC 20026
5. Are gratuity and tips included in the cost of the tour?
Yes, gratuities and tips are included to all appropriate parties. Your Smithsonian Study Leader and Smithsonian Representative are professionals who do not receive tips.
6. Do tours operate rain or shine?
Yes, tours operate rain or shine. In the case of severe weather, tours may be rescheduled, please call our 24-hour automated hotline at 202-633-8687 for updated tour information prior to your tour.
7. Where can I park for tours?
Please see this pdf file for study tours general parking information.
8. Where do tours leave from?
Daytime, weekend bus tours usually depart from the Holiday
Inn Capitol at 550 C Street, SW (corner of 6th & C). Weekday and overnight tours usually depart from the DeSales St. side of the Mayflower Hotel located at 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW. Specific departure information will be printed on your ticket and updated on our tour hotline one week prior to the tour.
9. What if I have to cancel a tour?
You can cancel a tour 3 ways. Sometimes you are charged a fee and not every part of a tour is refundable.
By Fax: Please cut up the tickets into pieces and photocopy them. Fax to 202-786-2034, with your name and daytime phone number.
At the Box Office: Our window in the S. Dillon Ripley Center is open 10am-5pm Monday-Friday.
Smithsonian Associates Refund Department
P.O. Box 23293
Washington, D.C. 20026-3293.
10. Are there any cancellation fees?
One-day Study Tours Refund Policy:
Credits will not be issued for tickets to programs that have a Resident Member price of less than $40. To receive credit for tickets with a Resident Member price of $40 or more, please call 202-633-3030 and speak with Customer Service at least 10 working days prior to the program date. Please note that there is a $10 processing fee.
Overnight Study Tours Refund Policy:
To receive credit for a course, please call 202-633-3030 To receive credit, please call 202-633-3030 and speak with Customer Service. Credit will be issued, provided cancellation is requested at least 45 days prior to the tour date. Cancellations received between 15 and 45 days before the tour are subject to a $100 cancellation fee. No credit will be issued for cancellations received fewer than 15 days before the tour date.
For a refund, tickets must be received in our office by the appropriate deadlines.
If a program is filled before we receive your order, or if it is cancelled
at any time, you will receive a full refund.
Smithsonian Associates office is closed weekends and federal
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.
Credits are non-transferable.
11. How do I know if I meet the physical requirements for the tour?
If you are doubtful of your physical abilities please contact 202-633-8601 to discuss physical requirements for the tour in which you are interested.
12. What do I need to bring/wear on tour?
Read tour description carefully to be prepared with appropriate clothes, hats, shoes, water, etc. If you have any questions, please call us at 202-633-8601
13. Is travel insurance available for day tours as well as overnight
No, travel insurance is only advised for overnight, multi-day tours.
14. Why would I want to purchase travel insurance?
Overnight tours are non-refundable and emergencies do occur where last-minute cancellations may be necessary. Travel insurance provides additional coverage against unforeseen incidents.
15. Do I purchase travel insurance on my own or through Smithsonian Associates?
If a participant wishes to purchase travel insurance, they must do so on
their own. Smithsonian Associates does not do this for them. Additional information
16. Do you wait for everyone before the tours depart?
Tours depart ON-TIME and do not wait for late arrivals. Please give yourself plenty of time to arrive at bus departure location.
17. How are seats determined on the bus?
Seats on the bus are first-come/first-served.
Study Tour Policies & Important Information
Unless otherwise noted in an announcement:
- Tours go rain or shine.
- Fees are all-inclusive.
- Only animals providing assistance to a participant with a disability are permitted on tours.
- Tours depart on time and do not wait for anyone not on board.
- Teenagers 14–17 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Unless otherwise noted, minimum age is 14.
- Itineraries are subject to minor change.
- Smoking is not permitted on buses.
- Call the Tour Office to determine accessibility of specific tours for persons with limited mobility, and to make advance accommodations if necessary.
- Those with dietary restrictions should call the Tour Office prior to departure; most requests can be accommodated.
- Tour buses returning to the Mall after dark when the museums are closed will stop, upon request, at the nearby taxi stand for those wishing a taxi.
- Seats at or near the front of tour buses can be reserved for those with special needs by calling the Tour Office.
- Participants on overnight tours will be required to sign a responsibility statement and liability waiver and complete a personal information form
(sample) prior to the tour. Participants may
wish to buy travel insurance for overnight tours.
- Please check your calendar carefully before registering—study
tours are nonrefundable within 15 days of the start of the program.
- Please see our information
for Study Tour cancellation and refund policy.
Bus Tour Parking and Pickup Points
- Departure locations for specific tours are provided on the ticket and may be confirmed several days prior to each tour by calling the tour information line, 202-633-TOUR (8687), and selecting menu item 2.
- Location Change: Weekend bus tours no longer depart from the southeast corner of the Air & Space Museum, 4th St. and Independence Ave., S.W. Tours will now depart from the Holiday Inn Capitol at 550 C St., S.W. (corner of 6th & C Sts.)
- Daytime Weekend Tour Parking: Unrestricted street parking is no longer available on Saturdays. Please be certain to read all posted signs before parking. There is a 24-hour parking garage located at the Holiday Inn Capitol (550 C Street, S.W.) operated by Colonial Parking, accessed from 6th St. The fee is $6 with a Resident Associate event ticket stub. Photo ID may be required upon entry.
- Overnight Weekend Tour Parking: Weekend overnight tour parking at the Smithsonian is provided, on a space-available basis, for Resident Associate members. The location of such parking and nearby pickup stops is included in the special information mailed prior to each overnight tour.
- Weekday Tour Departure & Parking: Tours taking place Monday through Friday depart from the Mayflower Hotel, Connecticut and DeSales St., N.W. Parking is available at the PMI parking lot.
24-hour parking is available on weekends for $6 for Local Tour participants at the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St., S.W. (garage accessed from 6th St.) Must show ticket stub.
Enjoy a pre- or post-tour overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Capitol, Fri., Sat. or Sun. nights. Rooms $99-$139/night. Call 202-479-4000 and mention Smithsonian Associates.
Studio Arts hotline: 202-633-8690
1. What should I bring to class? Are materials included?
Most classes do not have materials included. Please refer to the full course write-up in the Associate course program guide or online to determine whether a student supply list is available to download from our website. There are some instances in which our office or the instructor provides supplies or where supplies are discussed at the first class meeting. Information on supplies is contained in each course description.
2. What should I wear to a studio arts class?
We recommend wearing comfortable clothing that you won't mind getting a little messy. If you're coming from work, bring a smock or old shirt to protect your nice clothes from any damage.
3. Where can I find my supply list?
Supply lists are available for download from our website no later than two weeks prior to the start of the class. Most lists are posted 6 to 8 weeks prior to the start of class.
4. Where will my class be held?
While the majority of courses are held on the Mall in the S. Dillon Ripley Center classrooms, some courses are held at other locations. Check your tickets and/or the Associate course description for this information. If you still have questions, please call 202-633-3030 or email us at CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
5. My class is at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. Where can I park?
Parking and Metrorail directions for the S. Dillon Ripley Center may be found here.
6. When are classes typically announced?
New classes are typically announced on a quarterly basis via our monthly Smithsonian Associates program guide:
- Fall offerings (October-December) = August issue
- Winter offerings (January-March) = November issue
- Spring offerings (April-June) = February issue
- Summer offerings (July-September) = May issue
7. Can I bring a friend or spouse to class?
All those wishing to participate in a studio art class or workshop must be registered. You may register online or by calling 202-633-3030.
8. Can a teenager participate in a studio arts course?
Unless specifically described as a class for teens, studio arts classes are designed for participants age 16 and up. We do have unique summer camp experiences specifically for children K-8th grade. Information on our summer camp programming is generally available on our summer camp website beginning in February.
9. Can I enroll after a class has begun?
You may register late for a class if there is still space available and the instructor agrees to add another student. To join a class already underway, please call customer service at 202-633-3030.
10. What is the inclement weather policy?
In the case of severe weather, classes may be postponed. Announcements regarding class schedules for the day(s) in question will be posted on the Studio Arts Inclement Weather Hotline at 202-633-8690 at least two hours prior to the start of class time. Information regarding class postponements will also be posted on the home page of the Smithsonian Associates website and social media.
11. I have to miss a session of class; can I attend another section?
Sorry, but that won't be possible. Classes are specifically structured and they often run at full capacity and at different paces. This makes it impossible to accommodate visitors from other classes. We recommend that you check your schedule carefully before committing to a multiple-session class, to ensure that you are free and able to get the most from your educational experience. If you must miss a class due to your schedule, and have still chosen to enroll, we recommend speaking to your instructor prior to the class session you will miss to see if there is an assignment or supplemental reading that can be done to keep you on schedule. Your instructor will be your best guide in this situation.
12. I can no longer attend the course that I signed up for; can I get a refund?
The Smithsonian Associates does not issue refunds except in cases when a program is canceled or if it is filled before we receive your order. In some circumstances, purchasers may receive a credit to their account by contacting customer service in writing at least two weeks before the program date to request a credit. Please review our complete refund and credit policy.