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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. Simply call 202-633-3030 or send us an email.
  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 calling 202-633-3030. Your gift recipient will receive notification of your generosity in approximately two weeks from the time we receive your order.

  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.

Tickets purchased within 10 business days of an event's start date will not be mailed and will be held at Will Call at the event location. If you lost or forgot your ticket, your name will be on a roster at the door and you will still be admitted.
  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, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, 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 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?

    If an activity is sold out before we receive your mailed-in reservation, (a) you will not be charged if you paid by credit card. However, if you sent a check, Smithsonian accounting procedures require that it be cashed. A full refund by Smithsonian check is automatically processed. (b) your name is placed on a notification list for the filled event. If a vacancy occurs, people on this list are notified in order of receipt of their application. If a filled event is later rescheduled, applicants on the notification list receive a mailing prior to any announcement in the Associate program guide.
  4. How are event changes in published schedules handled?

    Occasionally we must change the time, date, or location of a program after an announcement has been published or tickets have been mailed. We notify participants by phone, email, and/or mail. 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.
    • There is a $3.00 per ticket processing fee on most tickets, except for Members-Only free events, Summer Camps, Smithsonian Sleepovers, and Discovery Theater shows.