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Membership & Tickets

View frequently asked questions for:
Membership / Registration Tips, Tickets, and Policies


Membership contributions to Smithsonian Associates are a charitable contribution.
No refunds are issued for membership contributions.
  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 of 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,, exclusive members-only programs, and much more.

    Become a member today!
  3. What is the difference between a Smithsonian Associates membership and a Friends of the Smithsonian membership?
    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.
  4. Can I transfer my Friends of the Smithsonian membership to a Smithsonian Associates membership?

    Yes! Friends of the Smithsonian members may transfer to the Smithsonian Associates to show their support and receive enhanced benefits. Contact us for assistance in transferring your membership.

    Contact us

  5. How do I purchase a gift certificate or give a gift membership?
    Purchase a gift certificate online

    You may also purchase a gift certificate by contacting our customer service team. Your gift recipient will receive notification of your generosity in approximately two weeks from the time we receive your order.

    Contact us

  6. When can I expect to receive my first Smithsonian magazine and the Smithsonian Associates program guide after signing up for membership?
    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?
    Download your membership card

    We print and mail membership cards upon request. You can download your membership card electronically and print it out at home or store it on your mobile device.

  8. How do I change my address?
    Change your address online

    You may also write us with your new address. Please allow 6 weeks for the change to take effect.

Registration Tips, Tickets, and Policies

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.

Save your order receipt!—Tickets are no longer being mailed out. Your order receipt will be your proof of purchase. For in-person programs, your name will also be on the roster at the door.
  1. How can I purchase tickets?
    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
    Call 202-633-3030 (voice), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST, to register with your Discover Card, VISA, American Express, or MasterCard.
    At the Door
    Tickets are available (on a first-come, first-served basis) at the door of some in-person programs. Call 202-633-3030 for availability.
  2. How do I use a promotion code discount?
    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?
    A sold-out message will display on the event page on our website. Simply indicate your waitlist interest online or contact our customer service team to be added. If additional seats or further date options become available, people on this wait list are notified typically by phone (sometimes email) to register for the program. If a filled event is later rescheduled, waitlisted patrons may be notified if further seats become available.
  4. How are event changes in published schedules handled?
    Occasionally we must change the time, date, or location of a program. We notify participants by phone and email. Call 202-633-3030 during business hours for information.
  5. What is the photography/filming policy?
    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?
    • There is an additional $3.00 nonrefundable handling fee per order on phone orders.
    • There is no handling fee for online orders.
    • Processing fees may apply.