Experience and Enjoy the Smithsonian as an Insider
Smithsonian Associates-the largest museum-based education program in the world-produces vibrant educational and cultural programming that brings the Smithsonian to life.
Inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections, and exhibitions, each year more than 750 individual programs are presented to spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages.
Seminars, performances, lectures, studio arts classes, and local and regional study tours, as well as many engaging programs for children, including performances, museum sleepovers and summer day camps offer unparalleled access to the Smithsonian’s world of knowledge.
Take a Look at What We Do
Conversations with fascinating people
Smithsonian Associates hosts extraordinary guests, including world leaders, political thinkers, artists, architects, scientists, authors, athletes, poets, and celebrity chefs. Through informal and candid conversations, 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
In addition to lectures and seminars on a wide range of performing arts, including theater, opera, cabaret and Broadway musicals, jazz and classical music, Smithsonian Associates presents concerts by resident ensembles: the Emerson String Quartet, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, and the Axelrod String Quartet (playing rare instruments from the Smithsonian collections).
Studio arts courses that bring color to your life
Whether you're inspired to pick up a paint brush, camera, or calligrapher's pen, a whole palette of choices awaits you. Hands-on classes led by professional artists are offered in a variety of formats from one-day workshops to multisession classes.
Tours that travel through history and the imagination
Day and overnight study tours take groups beyond the National Mall. Follow in the footsteps of history at Civil War battlefields, visit stunning exhibitions at museums along the East Coast; join experts in art, design, architecture, and science on special-topic tours; and explore behind the scenes at remote Smithsonian museums and research facilities in the Washington area and beyond.
There's Even More to Smithsonian Associates
Some 50,000 children annually experience live, educational performances at the Smithsonian Associates’ Discovery Theater. Actors, musicians, and puppeteers animate topics such as cultural heritage and folklore, scientific exploration, creativity, and invention for students and families from pre-K through elementary school.
Smithsonian Summer Camps
More than 90 weeklong and two-week intensive summer day camps enable children from kindergarten through eighth-grade one-of-a kind opportunities to develop new skills guided by scientists, researchers, museum curators, writers, and visual and performing artists-and have plenty of fun in the process.
Smithsonian Associates presents customized nighttime experiences for groups and families with children ages 8-12 in sleepover events at the Natural History Museum, American History Museum and the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar Hazy Center. Kids and their chaperones can choose their adventure, whether it is sleeping beneath a 50-foot whale, spending the night at the home of the Star-Spangled Banner, or in the shadow of the space shuttle Discovery. They experience the museums in a whole new way during a night of fun that features tours, games, crafts, and more.
Smithsonian at 8
Inspired by the world of the Smithsonian, the Smithsonian at 8 event series offers one-of-a-kind experiences for guests ages 21 and up. With themes from the local to the global, these after-hours gatherings combine music, food and drink, and unique settings to create evenings that are smart, adventurous, and memorably entertaining.
MA in Decorative Arts and Design History
Through a partnership with George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, students can pursue a Master of Arts degree in Decorative Arts and Design History. Students in the program are connected to the Smithsonian’s expansive network of professionals, research communities, and state-of-the-art conservation facilities. The program includes European and American-based studies enhanced with study abroad opportunities and domestic and international internships.
Smithsonian Associates Art Collectors Program
Smithsonian Associates’ Art Collectors Program invites collectors to purchase commissioned contemporary fine art prints and posters by acclaimed American artists. Each limited-edition print is signed, numbered, and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Proceeds support the educational and cultural programs of the Smithsonian Associates.
National Education Outreach
National Education Outreach facilitates educational and community programs across the country by engaging Smithsonian researchers, curators, historians, educators, and other museum professionals to share their expertise with students, teachers, and the general public beyond Washington, D.C. Training and enrichment programs for classroom teachers at the elementary and high school levels are a key feature of outreach initiatives.
Join Us as a Member!
Becoming a Smithsonian Associates member 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 Smithsonian Associates is part of the Smithsonian, we receive no federal or trust funds-relying instead on support from individual supporters at all levels to help bridge the gap between program expenses and ticket revenues.