There's no more exciting place to spend the summer than at Summer Camp at the Smithsonian, where all kinds of dreams can come true. Where else can campers blast into space or take center stage, create a masterpiece or invent a fantasy world, relive history, or learn to shape the future of the planet? The rich and exciting world of the Smithsonian Summer Camp program, now in its 49th year, is all theirs to discover in these one-of-a-kind learning experiences that spark the imagination and offer plenty of great fun!

Getting Started

To ensure you have the smoothest camp registration experience when camps go on sale, there are some things you can do in advance:
  • Sign in or create an account if you do not already have one. Individual camp information will be sent to the email addresses listed on your profile one month prior to your first day of camp.
  • Pre-register your campers or confirm their information if you registered them for previous Summer Camps. This includes entering or confirming their grade level, emergency contact information, pick up and drop off information, and medical and medication information. This information is required to purchase tickets, and having it completed in advance will help get you through the checkout process much quicker.
  • Browse our selection of camps. Be more prepared by knowing which camps you plan to purchase in advance. We suggest you have a second choice in mind when registering as camps can sell out quickly.
  • Become a member of the Smithsonian Associates and save big on camp prices! Join at the Resident Contributor level ($300) or above, and register for camp early, before registration opens to the public.
  • Want more information? Check out our For Parents for important information about camp.

About Our Camp Sessions - Please see For Parents for more complete information

  • Size: 16-21 kids, with two instructors in each camp.
  • Duration: There is no camp on July 4, 2018. Each camp is a week long and runs the full day (9:30 AM - 4:30 PM). Before- and after-camp options are also available.
  • Lunch/Snacks: Camps have a supervised brown-bag lunch hour. Many camps take a snack break so please pack a water bottle and extra snack.
  • Attire: Please wear proper attire for the weather.
  • View our Smithsonian Summer Camp photostream on Flickr!

Before-Camp and After-Camp Options

  • Before-Camp and After-Camp options are available for campers. You can sign up when you register for camp. Space is limited.

Supervised Drop-Off and Pick Up

  • Location: The entrance of the S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, D.C.
  • Transportation: Campers provide their own transportation to the Mall. Parents/Guradians must sign in and out their child each day.

Camp Prices

  • Regular Camps: $460 Nonmembers; $395 Members
  • July 2-6 Week: $368 Nonmembers; $316 Members
  • Note: Two-Week Intensive Camps have special pricing

Become a Donor and Register for Camp Early!

Smithsonian Associates donors at Resident Contributor level ($300) and above can register for camp early, before registration opens to the public. You will receive electronic notification about the early registration date and time. Click here to become a Resident Contributor and learn more about additional benefits.

Manage Your Profile Online!

View and edit your camper's medical information, emergency contacts, and drop off and pick up information all online. Any information not provided in advance will be required during the camp registration process.

Why We Need Medical Information During Registration
Having this knowledge prior to camp will facilitate the dissemination of pertinent allergy and medical condition information to your camper's instructors and Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA) in a timely manner, reduce the time required to check in on your camper's first day (you will only have to claim your t-shirts!), and eliminate the possibility of the information being lost in the mail.

Note: Children without current medical information in their profile before their first day of camp will not be admitted.

Grade Level Policy

Camps are created specifically for the stated grade levels and are therefore appropriate only for children entering those grades in the Fall. You will only be allowed to register your child for the camps in which his/her grade level falls between the stated ranges. Camps are not designed for children under five.

If your child requires special accommodation to the policy, please speak with a Customer Service Representative prior to registration.
Select Week:
Camp Length:
Start Time
Grade Range

Sue Altenburg

Sue Altenburg is a PPA Certified Master Photographer and graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography. She has operated a photography studio in Las Vegas for over 30 years and specializes in portraiture.

Jessica Andrews

Jessica Andrews has recently completed her degree in Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Now in her second summer with the Smithsonian, she also works with adult men at the Richmond City Justice Center during the school year.

Abagail Beddall

Abagail Beddall is a multi-media artist who moved to Pittsburgh, PA after receiving her BFA from Penn State University. Beddall supports emerging artists as the residency coordinator at Bunker Projects, an artist residency and gallery, as well as teaching art in the city of Pittsburgh. For the past 2 years, she has taught with the Smithsonian Camps program, and she is excited to return for a 3rd year!

Alexandria Beddall

Alexandra Beddall got her bachelor’s degree in Media Studies at Penn State University. Since then, she has worked in the film and television industry in New York City, Connecticut, and Austin, making her own films. Alex also has a strong background in storytelling and crafting. She looks forward to returning to her childhood home city to teach at her favorite museum, the Museum of Natural History.

Sam Berner

Sam Berner is a Pittsburgh based artist, formally trained in ceramics; he shifted to paint over the past 6 years. He focuses on working collaboratively with others as he finds his work has more depth when working along someone else. He has been teaching art camps for the Smithsonian since summer 2015.

Melinda Brady

Melinda Brady has degrees in environmental and evolutionary biology. She currently works as a teacher and volunteer at local elementary schools.

Shannon Brady

Shannon Brady has completed a BFA in Art Education program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has experience with camp direction and created a free program for middle schoolers in the city of Richmond emphasizing the positive impact of arts-related careers. She is also an artist working primarily in pen and ink illustrations.

Laura Carew

Laura Carew has over fifteen years of experience teaching Kindergarten to third grade. She currently teaches first grade at the Alexandria Country Day School.

Halley Carroll

Halley Carroll is a seven-year-veteran summer camp instructor who during the year leads her middle school in enrichment after school STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) programming as well as she is head of the Language Arts department. Halley has recently co-authored the “Ecosystems on the Edge” Guide for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Donna Cato

Donna Cato believes that her role as a 21st century teacher is to guide students in their search for knowledge and equip them with the necessary tools to find answers to their own questions. Donna has been a classroom teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools for over 7 years, and a classroom teacher for over 20 years in Texas. Her focus has been on science, math and technology. Donna wants students beyond the surface level thinking, into the creative world of evaluation, analysis and synthesis in order for them to obtain problem solving and reasoning skills at all levels.

Kendall Chandler

Kendall Chandler is an art educator who graduated with a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. Her personal artwork explores the concepts of dreams, joy, memory, nature, and circularity. Favorite pastimes include gardening, painting, and playing the ukulele. Ms. Chandler prioritizes connection, kindness, experimentation, and effort in her classroom above all else.

Ashley Christopher

Ashley Christopher has been teaching elementary art for six years with Fairfax County Public Schools.

Meredith Cosier

Meredith Cosier is a K-6 art teacher in Fairfax County. She graduated with two BFA degrees from VCU and is also currently the curriculum designer with the Art Education Department’s Currentlab. This is her fourth year teaching digital and art camps with the Smithsonian.

Lauren Currie

Lauren Currie is an elementary school teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools and has taught in both Virginia and New Jersey. She has also been a coach for Girls on the Run. This will be her third summer working with the Smithsonian Summer Camp.

Lucy Dirksen

Lucy Dirksen is a DC native illustrator, jewelry designer, and art teacher for Kindergarten-8th grade at St. Mary’s Landover Hills, MD. Her current watercolor project is a children’s book: Patches and the Baby Bunny, by Cathy D. Knepper, Ph.D. Her website is

Damisha Drakes

Damisha Drakes is a six year veteran as a summer camp instructor. She chairs her school’s STEM implementation project, is a science department chair and community leader for her school, and an accomplished Zumba instructor.

Cecelia Ebitz

Cecilia Ebitz received her BFA in sculpture from Penn State University in 2011. Working with a range of ages, she has taught various forms of sculpture and creative play. Currently, Cecilia creates arts opportunities for other emerging artists at Bunker Projects, a residency and gallery space she co-founded in Pittsburgh, PA.

Belen Edwards

Belen Edwards is currently studying literature at the University of Chicago. She has taught previous camps at the Smithsonian such as Soldiers and Dioramas: Trojan War, and Dinosaurs and Dioramas: Mesozoic Park.

Samy el-Noury

Samy el-Noury is a full-time actor, aerialist, pianist, puppeteer, and vocalist. In addition to performing, he also works as the General Manager at the Baltimore Annex Theater; as well as a teaching artist for the Smithsonian Discovery Theater. Samy lives in Baltimore, MD and works along the east coast.

Audrey Engdahl

Audrey Engdahl is a music teacher and award-winning songwriter and performer in the MD/DC area with original songs that encourage knowledge of science, language, and creativity.

Elaine Florimonte

Elaine Florimonte is a working artist and educator in the metropolitan DC area, bringing 20 years of teaching experience to the creative collaboration of the Smithsonian.

Jasmine Fountain

Jasmine Fountain is returning for her third summer as a Smithsonian Summer Camp instructor. The rest of the year, she is an elementary art teacher in Virginia Beach, VA. Jasmine specializes in crafts and sculpture, but also has a passion for digital arts including Video Game Design. Jasmine comes from a family of educators and has always had a passion for knowledge whether it's related to art or not. Jasmine describes herself as a museum nerd, as she loves to learn new things. Her friends compare her to the Harry Potter character, Luna Lovegood. She is a quirky free spirit with a good heart and is very perceptive.

Michael Gabel

Michael Gabel is a professional actor, director, producer, and talk show host. He is a co-founder and teacher at The Actors Institute.

Haley Garvis

Haley Garvis is an artist and educator based in Richmond, VA. She involves interactive sound art in her own sculpture practice and uses creative technology and physical computing devices to activate learning in the classroom. Haley has a BA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Sculpture and Art Education, with a minor in Art History.

Al Gaspar

Al Gaspar is a creative shop and science teacher in the Philadelphia area, and the creator of the Smithsonian's Soldiers and Dioramas summer camps.

Nick Hernandez

Nick “tha 1 da” Hernandez teaches music production and improvisational writing with the non-profit Urban Arts Academy (WBL Inc.) and DC Public Libraries. He has composed and performed live for several venues, including the Kennedy Center, Imagination Stage, Wolftrap Performing Arts Center, Children’s National Medical Center, Fox News, and the Smithsonian.

Meredith Hertel

Meredith Hertel is an art educator for Richmond Public Schools. She has been an instructor at the Smithsonian Summer Camp for several years and has experience teaching at elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. She strives to develop curriculum that engages students in cross-disciplinary thinking, that encourages creative collaboration, and that develops comfort with ambiguity and exploring unfamiliar ideas.

Margaret Huey

Margaret Huey is an illustrator, comic artist, and recent graduate from the Maryland Institute College of Art, specializing in work using ink, gouache, and digital mediums. She loves bringing global narratives into the classroom with comics and creative applications! Currently, Margaret is also organizing Malulee's Kitchen, an illustrated cookbook and series of cooking lessons all about Asian-American food in the Baltimore-DC Area. She loves doing the Smithsonian Summer Camps and can't wait to get started with this year's!

Sarah Huffman

Sarah Huffman is a current student at the University of Virginia pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and Political Philosophy, Policy and Law. Aside from her work with the Smithsonian Summer Camp program, she has worked extensively with the Virginia Science Olympiad organization to help coordinate state and regional science tournaments for middle and high school aged students. In her spare time, she manages her own small business dedicated to fiber art.

Michelle Tang Jackson

Michelle Tang Jackson is a performer and teaching artist. Teaching credits include Capitol Hill Day School, Shakespeare Theater Company, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Faction of Fools, and Mondavi Center ArtsBridge.

John Judy

John Judy is a DC area actor-writer-director who has performed on stages here as well as in Los Angeles and Chicago. His more notable credits include HBO’s Veep, House of Cards, Homicide: Life on the Street, and writing and performing in over 150 original sketch shows at the IO West Theatre in Hollywood. In DC, John has taught at The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, the Rockville Jewish Community Center, and Bethesda’s Imagination Stage. John can also be seen from Richmond to Philly as the Detective in Murder Mystery USA's touring company.

Bob Keddell

Bob Keddell has been working with Smithsonian Summer Camp for nearly 12 years and works closely with different units of the Smithsonian. His accomplishments include two Presidential Teaching Awards and the OHAUS National Creative Teaching Award. Besides this summer job, Bob is the faculty advisor for Teacher Leadership Certificate Program at Johns Hopkins University.

Randall Knol

Randall Knol has a master’s degree in System Design with an emphasis in professional training using gamification. Randy also earned a certification for teaching dance from Novikoff School of Russian-American Ballet and was a teacher and performer for two decades. His current position involves mentoring and developing programs for retraining technical staff in new technologies at US Census and data administration. Randy is a columnist for Prehistoric Times, a magazine dedicated to dinosaur enthusiasts, and is member of the Society of Vertebrate Planetology.

Taliesin Knol

Taliesin Knol has been involved with diorama camps for over 5 years, first as an YTA, then as a co-teacher. He also works as a volunteer guide for the Randolph College Science Day.

Drew Kopas

Drew Kopas is a professional actor originally from Cleveland who has performed throughout the District/Maryland/Virginia area. You may have seen him onstage at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Constellation Theatre, Faction of Fools, Olney Theater Center, Keegan Theatre, Everyman Theatre, Capital Fringe Festival, or Clown Cabaret. He holds an MFA in Acting from Western Illinois University.

Jessica Shearer Kopas

Jessica Shearer Kopas is a 1st grade teacher at DC Scholars Academy. She is also an actress in the DC area. Theatre credits include work with Washington Stage Guild, Adventure Theatre, Imagination Stage, 1st Stage, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, and Spooky Action.

Aurenna Komisar

Aurenna Komisar has a background in theatre and over 15 years of teaching experience. She uses storytelling in the classroom and believes arts integration is an essential tool for reaching students.

Carly Kriewald

Carly Kriewald teaches art, a math elective, and study skills in her hometown middle school in Millersville, MD. Carly has a BS in Art Education from Towson University.

Michelle Land

Michelle Land teaches elementary school art in Fairfax County. She received her BFA in Fine Arts and MA in Teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art. A practicing artist, her favorite medium is printmaking and has exhibited in a variety of cities including Alexandria, NYC, and Baltimore.

Chris Lane

Chris Lane is currently a project manager with the Smithsonian's Discovery Theater -- helping to run and manage performances, tours, and interactive storytelling for young audiences in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Beyond a project manager, Chris is a DCPS teaching artist with Tools of Discovery, an event technician for Smithsonian Associates, and simultaneously finding time to do freelance work in acting, graphic design, and music production. He looks forward to using his entire skillset to make an adventure-filled, one-of-a-kind summer camp experience!

Tara Stallworth Lee

Tara Stallworth Lee is a visual artist specializing in paper-making, book arts, and analog photography. Tara lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama where she is a resident artist at Ground Floor Contemporary and former Arts Education Coordinator for Space One Eleven, a visual arts non-profit. Tara has enjoyed teaching specialty art classes to youth for over fifteen years.

Sara Hashem Liles

Sara Hashem Liles teaches AP Language and IB Drama at Richard Montgomery High School in Montgomery County, MD. She has a background in theater and creative writing.

Mary Jo McCoy

Mary Jo McCoy is from Richmond, VA and has been a camp instructor since 2012. She has degrees in Communication Arts and Art Education with a minor in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University. If she's not teaching students how to make video games, paint, draw, or sculpt, she's probably preparing for a marathon or playing with her cat.

Luke Meeken

Luke Meeken has been teaching new media art classes at the Smithsonian and in the Richmond, VA area since 2012. He completed his Master's in Art Education degree at VCU in 2014, and has a Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He teaches digital art to high schoolers in Ashland, VA during the school year, has helped develop the Game Design as Art curriculum for VCU's CurrentLab, and has presented on teaching game design and digital art at national and state Art Education conferences.

Matthew McGee

Matthew McGee is a professional performing artist, freelance props and puppet designer, and all around craftsman who loves sharing his artistic skills with others. He has taught numerous workshops on puppet-making for both children and adults, is a faculty member of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Georgetown, and has taught classes through Roundhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre, and several other schools and museums in his previous home of Fresno, California.

Erika Ogier

Erika Ogier is a second-year graduate student at the Virginia Commonwealth University, who currently also teaches an undergraduate technology course. She is also teaching an after-school video game class with Haley Garvis at VCU.

Psalmayene 24

Psalmayene 24 is an accomplished director, playwright, and actor. He is the creator of Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth, P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical, and Cinderella: The Remix (three critically acclaimed plays for young audiences collectively known as The Hip-Hop Children's Trilogy). He is currently the Master Teaching Artist at Arena Stage.

Paul Reisman

Paul Reisman is Associate Artistic Director of Faction of Fools Theatre Company was well as a professional actor and educator in the DC area. Recently, he directed The Duchess of Malfi for We Happy Few at the Capitol Fringe Festival and performed in Our Town with Faction of Fools.

Kathryn Rickards

Kathryn Rickards is currently completing her BFA in Art Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. During the academic year, she helps teach the Art Education department’s middle school contemporary art workshop, Investigation Now, and volunteers as a mentor at a local elementary school. She primarily works as a painter, but is also interested in new media.

Paul Schmidt

Paul Schmidt is an architectural designer and project manager in Phoenix, Arizona. As a child Paul helped build his family home and has continued on in architecture to create dozens of large-scale projects, including the new renovation to Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium. Outside of the office Paul is still a maker, and can be found building custom bicycles, designing furniture, and restoring a vintage VW Squareback.

Lynn Sharp-Spears

Lynn Sharp-Spears is a professional director, performer, teacher, and designer in the DC metro area and has collaborated with many performing arts organizations including The Kennedy Center, The National Theater, Studio Arts, and more. Her film and television work include production design and casting for the Learning Channel, Discovery, National Geographic, and more.

Betty Simmons

Betty Simmons has been a working photographer and educator of photography for over 30 years, with experience in all forms of analog and digital photography. She has a special love for alternative and historical photography techniques, including infa-red.

Sarah Sindler

Sarah Sindler is a metalsmith and wearables artist, who under her business name KING RELD, creates bespoke pieces for her clients. Her love of making goes hand-in-hand with her love of teaching students of all ages and abilities to become more familiar with art and their ability to create.

Brie N. Smith

Brie N. Smith is a design instructor at Arizona State University, and an award-winning architect. Passionate about design that brings people together, she is excited by collaboration and community outreach. Brie is also a maker, utilizing 3D printing and cutting-edge technologies to create jewelry, accessories, and furniture

Crista Noel Smith

Crista Noel Smith is a British-born and trained artist, puppet maker, and award-winning theatre designer with a passion for stories and storytelling. She works as a maker and teacher in the US and UK.

Jack Smith

Jack Smith has been a freelance writer and computer game designer.

Mundy Spears

Mundy Spears is a professional dancer, singer, and actress in the DC metro area. She has taught movement, dance, yoga, and strength for more than a decade to young people aged 3 to 18.

Angela White

Angela White is a veteran Fairfax County Public Schools teacher who teaches Math & Science in the Advanced Academics Program. She received a Bachelors in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Education from Marymount University. In addition to teaching, she loves reading, writing, singing, gaming, knitting, and day-tripping with her husband in the DMV area.

Join Now and Save!

You can save big on your Camp tickets by becoming a member of the Smithsonian Associates. If you do not already have a Smithsonian Associates membership or you need to renew your existing membership, you can purchase one here.*

Become a Donor and Register for Camp Early!

Smithsonian Associates donors at Resident Contributor level ($300) and above can register for camp on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 two days before registration opens to the public. You will receive electronic notification about the early registration date and time. Click here to become a Resident Contributor and learn more about additional benefits.*
*Note – after purchasing, renewing, or updating your membership at, you will need to logout and re-login to your Summer Camp session to access your member rate.

Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA)

We are currently looking for responsible and highly motivated teenagers and young adults to assist with Summer Camp. Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA) are ages 15 and older and offer support to the instructors. YTA options will be available from June 18 – August 17, 2018 on a weekly basis. Summer camp sessions meet for a five-day week, Monday through Friday. There is no camp on July 4, 2018. Summer camp sessions are held on the National Mall in the S. Dillon Ripley Center, unless otherwise stated.

It's a Great Experience!


Smithsonian Summer Camp

Youth Teacher Assistant (YTA) Application 2017

Personal Information

High School:


Please select the weeks for which you would like to be a YTA. Keep in mind your summer schedule, and only request weeks for which you are able to work. You must be able to attend all five days for the sessions you are assigned. Please submit this application only if you are willing to work any camp during the week(s) you have requested. YTAs are expected to be available from 8:15 am to 4:45 pm.
Please select three subjects that interest you.

Soldiers &
Are you interested in working with the Soldiers and Dioramas camps?

Application Questions

Previous YTA Experience:
Have you been a YTA before?
If Yes, list the years and number of weeks you have worked. What was the biggest lesson you learned as a YTA? If no, skip this question.
800 characters remaining
Why are you interested in being a YTA, and what do you hope to gain from this experience? If you have been a YTA before, why are you interested in coming back?
800 characters remaining
Leadership Experience:
Please list any past leadership experience (sports, school clubs, religious organizations, etc.).
What have these experiences taught you about professionalism and responsibility?
Do you think these qualities will be important as a YTA?
800 characters remaining
Similar Experience:
Do you have any experience working with children?
If yes, please describe any experience with children (babysitting, tutoring, etc.).
800 characters remaining
Special Skills:
Do you have any related special skills or interests?
If yes, please describe any special skills or interests (academic or otherwise) that would contribute to your work as a YTA.
800 characters remaining
Adult Reference:
Please provide the name, phone number, and relationship of an adult reference who is not a family member.
Serving as a YTA provides an extraordinary way for teens to be involved with a national organization, the Smithsonian Institution. YTAs befriend, help, and act as role models for younger children. Assisting a professional instructor, YTAs are introduced to the world of teaching. The wide range of programs offer YTAs the opportunity to experience and learn about new subject areas or increase and share their understanding of a more familiar subject such as art, science, or theater. YTAs earn community service credits and also have an intriguing experience to add to a resume or application for college or a future job.

If you are unable to submit your YTA application online, please type it into a document and attach it to an email to

How to Apply

Submit an online YTA Application.

Applications must be submitted by March 24 and volunteers will be notified via email on April 21.

Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA) Responsibilities

  1. You will be given a monitor packet for your class.
    This packet contains a roster of participants, copies of each child's medical release forms, and other important information. It is your responsibility to keep the monitor packet in a safe place and have it with you during all classes, on all field trips, and during drop-off and pick-up of campers. Monitor packets must be given to the YTA supervisor at the end of the day and should not be taken home.
  2. Arrive at 8:15 am on Mondays and 8:30 am the rest of the week.
    During this time, you will help the instructor prepare for the class. Check with the instructor for specific needs and assignments. During this time you will also meet with the other YTAs and the YTA supervisor.
  3. Be prepared for the arrival of campers.
    Have your monitor packet in hand and be stationed in front of the Ripley Center by 9:00 am. Check in each camper upon arrival and provide supervision for the campers in front of the building and on the way to the classroom to meet the teachers.
  4. Verify medical release forms.
    Make sure you have every participant's medical release form during drop-off the first day.
  5. Wear your name tag at all times.
    You will need to bring it to and from home each day to assure access to the Ripley Center before the building is opened to the public. Make sure you have a nametag for each camper. Campers leave their nametags with you at the end of each day.
  6. You are responsible for each child's whereabouts at ALL TIMES.
    Take the participants to the restroom (students under 8). Also act as a "go for" if necessary.
  7. Be active, engaging and participate, as the instructors require.
    Don't just watch. BE A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL for the younger participants.
  8. Assist with field trips.
    Keep tally of campers, have a positive attitude, and help the instructors as requested. Always leave a note on the door of the classroom when the class goes out, informing people where the camp group has gone, when you left, and when you expect to return.
  9. Oversee the lunch hour with leading in safe games and organized activities.
    All full day camps will have lunch from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm at a designated outside location.
  10. Assist the instructor with class clean up.
    Classrooms MUST be left CLEAN. Please see the Room Cleaning Policy for details.
  11. Pass out and collect student evaluations at the end of class on the last day.
    The younger children may need their parent's help in filling out evaluations. Also, fill out the YTA evaluation forms at the end of each week. Don't forget to give the instructors their evaluations to fill out.
  12. Supervise drop-off at the close of camp.
    Ensure you have all of the children, and escort campers to after-camp or upstairs to the drop-off point in front of the Ripley Center. You will ensure that each child leaves with an adult with the appropriate drop off cards. Collect name tags from campers before they leave and give them to the YTA supervisor.
  13. PROMPTNESS and ATTENDANCE are musts.
    Not adhering to the schedule is cause for dismissal as it could jeopardize the safety of the campers.
  14. Dress code is informal, but neat.
    Short shorts, torn jeans, spaghetti strap tank tops and shirts that expose midriffs are NOT considered appropriate for camp. You will be provided with a camp t-shirt to wear on Mondays and any other day you wish.
  15. Bring a non-perishable lunch and drink(s) with you each day.
    Facilities previously open to volunteers for purchasing food may no longer be available. A soda and snack vending machine is available to you in the Ripley Center, but it is not available to the campers so please be discreet. Please keep in mind that full-day YTAs must be with the campers for their entire lunch period so plan accordingly. No food or drink is to be consumed in the Ripley Center concourse.
  16. Mobile phone use must be limited to break times or emergencies.
    Please do not use during the times when you are attending to campers, especially drop-off and pick-up times.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or would like more information, please give us a call at 202-633-3030 extension 1 or send us an email at
1. What are the dates and times for Smithsonian Summer Camp?
Camp sessions are one or two weeks in duration and camp sessions are offered between June 18 – August 17, 2018. All sessions are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each of the nine weeks presents a different selection of sessions and offerings.
2. What are the age limits?
Camps are offered for young people entering Kindergarten through 8th grade in the upcoming Fall. Camps are not designed for children under five. The camper's grade must fall between the listed range in order to participate in the camp. If special accommodations should be considered, please contact registration staff prior to Registration Day. High School students ages 15 and above are eligible to apply for a volunteer position as a Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA).
3. Where are the Summer Camp sessions held?
Most of the Smithsonian Associates' summer camps are in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC.. Video Game Design, Digital Arts Mash-up, and Digital Photography, and Animated World take place at the CIC-Computer Lab located in the National Museum of Natural History, 10th St and Constitution Ave., NW, on the Smithsonian Mall. Pick-up and drop-off for both of these camps will be at the Ripley Center and campers will walk to the room with their Youth Teaching Assistants.
4. How do participants get to and from camp?
Participants must provide their own transportation to and from camp. There is a supervised drop-off and pick-up of campers in front of the S. Dillon Ripley Center on Jefferson Dr., S.W. with authorized adults. Exact drop-off and pick-up location will be included in informational material sent to parents two weeks before camp sessions begin.
5. When can I drop-off and pick-up my camper?
Supervised drop-off begins at 9:00 a.m. and campers are taken down to their classrooms at 9:30 a.m. If you arrive after 9:30 a.m., it is your responsibility to escort the camper to their room. Pick-up is promptly at 4:30 p.m. Campers who have not been picked-up by 4:45 p.m. will be taken to the after-camp room and charged a late fee of $15 every subsequent 15 minute period.
6. What should my child wear?
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes appropriate for craft activities, playing outside, and walking long distances. Some activities will be outside so please apply sunscreen before camp and bring an umbrella/additional sunscreen when necessary.
7. What about lunches and snacks?
Full-day campers have a supervised snack and lunchtime for which participants must provide their own non-perishable food. Please bring a water bottle and additional snacks each day for your camper. We do not have access to vending machines, refrigerators, or microwaves. The location of lunch varies depending upon weather and circumstances.
8. What if my child needs medication during the day?
If your camper needs any medication throughout the week, please give it to one of the Camp Staff at the check in Table on the first day of camp. REMEMBER camp staff is not allowed to dispense medication; all medication must be self-administered.
9. Who teaches the Smithsonian summer camps?
Two experienced instructors lead each summer camp session and are assisted by two high school volunteers. The camper to instructor/assistant ratio is 4 to 1. view the complete list of the instructors for this year's summer camps.
10. Can my family view the work my child has done during camp?
Families and friends are welcome to attend the Open House Fridays to view your child's gallery or performance. You will receive a notice with details from the classroom instructor.
11. Can I use the cost of my camps as an expense toward my child and dependant care credit on my taxes?
Per IRS guidelines, the cost of day camp may count as an expense toward child and dependent care credit. For those who qualify, a receipt can be issued in the name of the camp buyer that paid/registered for summer camp. For more information on these IRS rules, visit the IRS Web site.
12. What is the cancellation/refund policy?
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.
13. What is your inclusion policy?
Smithsonian Summer Camp is committed to serving children of different abilities and creating a welcoming environment for all campers. Please contact us prior to enrollment if your child requires individualized medical, behavioral, or social support to ensure a successful experience at Smithsonian Summer Camp. In order to best serve each camper, please also list all physical, cognitive, medical, emotional, learning needs or anything else you would like us to know in your application materials.
14. What is expected of campers while visiting the Smithsonian's museums?
We expect that all campers demonstrate good "museum manners" while at camp and visiting the Smithsonian's museums. Museum manners include acting with respect towards others, being careful of the exhibits, and following instructions.

Summer Camp Information For Parents

Below are the basic logistics for the Smithsonian Summer Camp. If you have a specific question about camp, please call the Smithsonian Associates office at 202-633-3030 to be directed to camp staff September through June, or email During camp (June-August), please contact our summer camp hotline at 202-633-CAMP.

NEW THIS YEAR - 2017 Camp Information Sessions!
We will have two camp information sessions for parents at the S. Dillon Ripley Center on the following date and times:

Tuesday, May 2nd
12:00pm - 1:00pm and 6:30pm - 7:30pm

Both new and veteran camper parents are welcome to attend!

About Our Camps

Camp runs for nine weeks, from June 18 – August 17, 2018. Camps are one or two weeks in duration, and all camp sessions are from 9:30am-4:30pm each day. There is no camp on July 4; camps will run for four days the week of July 2-6, 2018. There is a unique offering of camps every week, which allows your child to have a new experience from week to week.

Camps cost $395 per session (up to $790 for two-week camps) for Smithsonian Associates members, $460 per session (up to $920 for two-week camps) for non-members. There is special pricing for the week of July 4th. To inquire about becoming a Smithsonian Associates member, please call registration at 202-633-3030.

Camps are available for children who will be entering Kindergarten through 8th grade in the upcoming fall. Camps are not designed for children under the age of five. High school students, ages 15 and above, may apply for a volunteer position as a Youth Teaching Assistant (YTA). See YTA tab for more information and the application.

Smithsonian Summer Camp is committed to creating a meaningful and welcoming camp experience for all campers. If your camper needs special accommodations, please list any pertinent information with your registration materials, or contact the Smithsonian Associates registration office at 202-633-3030 and ask to speak with the Camp Manager.

Most of the Smithsonian Summer Camps are held in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC 20560. Video Game Design, Digital Arts Mash Up, Animated World, and Digital Photography are held at the CIC-Computer Lab located in the National Museum of Natural History. Pick-up and drop-off for both of these locations will occur outside of the S. Dillon Ripley Center.


Campers must have their own transportation to and from camp each day. Drop-off and pick-up is supervised by Camp Staff each day. On Mondays, camp drop off is from 9:00-10:00am, and is located on the Ripley Center concourse on the 3rd sublevel of the building. Tuesday-Friday, drop-off is from 9:00-9:30am outside the Ripley Center.

Pick-up is at 4:30pm, and is located outside Ripley Center (unless inclement weather). Please see the Forms tab for a detailed description of all drop-off and pick-up procedures, including late drop-off/early pick-up policies.

Self-release forms are available upon request from Camp Staff. They require a parent signature and all parent contact information. Campers under the age of 13 are not permitted to have self-release forms, regardless of parent approval. The self-release form waives all responsibility and liability of the Smithsonian Institution and Summer Camp, and campers will be able to sign themselves in and out of camp each day.

Preparing for Camp

Campers should come to camp with the following:

  • Good shoes for walking (no flip-flops, please!)
  • Clothes appropriate for the weather, playing outside and doing crafts
  • Brown bag lunch, with two additional snacks, a drink
  • Water bottle

Please put a name on everything that comes to camp. Sometimes items get forgotten or lost and we want to make sure campers go home with everything they brought! Please check lost and found on Friday afternoon.

Smithsonian Summer Camp does not provide or apply sunscreen. Please put sunscreen on your child before dropping them off at camp. If they require additional applications, they must be able to apply it themselves.

Electronic devices are not allowed to be used in the classrooms, although they may be used during lunch and before/after care with the permission of a YTA or staff.


Lunch takes place from 12:30-1:30pm on the National Mall across from the Ripley Center. When camps take all day field trips, campers will eat at the location of their fieldtrip. In case of inclement weather, lunch will take place inside the Ripley Center.

Campers should bring their own brown bag lunch- we do not provide food for campers. Campers do not have access to vending machines, refrigerators, or microwaves, and campers are not permitted to purchase food from street vendors.


If your camper needs medication throughout the week, please give it to one of the Camp Staff at the check-in table on Monday morning. Camp Staff is not allowed to administer any medication; all medication must be self-administered (with the exception of epi-pens). Please make camp staff aware of any medical concerns you may have.

In order to prevent sickness from spreading through camp, sick campers should stay home. This includes symptoms like fever, throwing up, and lice. If your camper is having symptoms the night before, please keep them at home the next day.

Please note that Smithsonian Summer Camp is NOT a nut-free camp. Camp Staff does their best to accommodate allergies, but we do not restrict any foods from camp. Please be sure to list any allergies in your registration materials. Staff will make sure you camper’s instructor and YTAs are informed.

When do we call you?

There are times when it is necessary to call you or your alternate emergency contact. These include, but are not limited to:

  • When a camper is too ill to continue with the activities.
  • When a camper has lice.
  • When a camper is being overly disruptive to the camp and campers.
  • When a camper exhibits unsafe behaviors in the classroom or in the museums.
  • When a camper is physically or verbally hurtful to instructors, staff, or fellow campers.

Field Trips

Camps take field trips almost every day to visit various museums, historic sites, monuments, and the National Zoo. Campers will either walk, take a Smithsonian bus, or take the metro to these locations.

Costs of the field trips are covered by camp. Most field trips will be listed in the letter from the instructor that you will receive through email two weeks before your camp starts. On Monday morning, instructors will also mention field trips during drop off.

If it gets too hot during the day (Code Orange/Red), campers stay inside for lunch and may not take the planned museum trips.

Camp Staff

Camp staff is located in the Ripley Center Associate’s office 3077. Staff is made up of full time Associates’ staff and interns who are here to ensure that campers have a safe, enjoyable and informative camp sessions. Staff is with campers throughout the day and oversee before and after care as well as the lunch break. Our mission is to ensure a smooth operation and clear communication during camp. Please call us anytime or email us with any questions or concerns.

Camp Instructors

Two experienced adult instructors lead each camp session, and are assisted by high school volunteers. To learn more about the camp instructors for this summer, please see the instructors tab.

Camp Youth Teaching Assistants (YTA)

High School students 15+ years of age are welcome to apply to be a YTA for Summer Camp. There are at least 2 YTAs in every camp with campers 5th grade and younger. They are here to assist with camps needs, smooth execution, and safety of the campers.

Dependent Care Tax Credit

Per IRS guidelines, the cost of a day of camp may count as an expense toward child and dependent care credit. For those who qualify, a receipt can be issued in the name of the person who paid for summer camp. For more information on the IRS rules, visit the IRS web site.

Cancellation Refund

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.

Camp Specific Info

Two weeks prior to your camp, a parent pack will be emailed to you at the email address provided at registration. This parent pack will include:

  • Camp culture guidelines
  • Letter from the camp instructors outlining the week
  • Pick-up card that is required for anyone who picks-up your camper
  • Loading/unloading parking pass for your car (not guaranteed to stop parking tickets)
  • Wacky Wednesday theme of the week

If you do not receive this pack two weeks before your camp, please call 202-633-2267, or email

Wacky Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, we have special lunchtime activities set up related to a different weekly theme. Campers, instructors, and staff are encouraged to dress up that day. This is not a mandatory activity, but fun for everyone.

Friday Show and Share

Families and friends are invited to attend the Friday Show and Share to view your child's gallery or performance at the end of the week. You will receive more details from your camp instructor during the week of camp.

Expectation of Campers

We expect all campers to demonstrate "museum manners" while at camp and visiting the Smithsonian's museums. Museum manners include acting with respect towards others, being careful of the exhibits, and following instructions from instructors and YTAs.

In your parent pack, you will receive a Camp Culture document. Please review this with your camper in the weeks leading up to their camp session. If you have any questions or need clarification about these guidelines, please email

Forms & Documents

Your camper's Drop Off/Pick-up, Photo Release Information, Medical Release, and Medication Information is required during registration. You can also pre-register and edit this information online at any time.

Please read the following for your information:

As camp nears, we will send you:

  • Welcome letter from your child's instructor - This will give you some more details about his/her exciting week at camp.
  • Pick-up Card - Please fill camper's name in blank space under camp title. You will need this sign in-hand in order to pick-up your child. You will receive a camp card for your vehicle dashboard upon the first day of camp.

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