Smithsonian Collections

The Smithsonian's collections represent our nation's rich heritage, art from across the globe, and the immense diversity of the natural and cultural world.

The scope of objects in Smithsonian collections is staggering—from ancient Chinese bronzes to the Star-Spangled Banner; from a 3.5 billion-year-old fossil to the Apollo lunar landing module; from the ruby slippers featured in The Wizard of Oz to presidential memorabilia. Scholars and scientific researchers at the Smithsonian, and around the world, use these vast collections in their research to expand human knowledge.

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Collections At A Glance

  • 154 million artifacts, works of art, and specimens in the Smithsonian's collections
  • 145 million of these specimens and artifacts are held by the National Museum of Natural History
  • 10 million digital records available online through the Collections Search Center
  • 2 million library volumes held by Smithsonian Libraries
  • 156,830 cubic feet of archival material held by Archives across the Smithsonian
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The Smithsonian is a leader in the field of protecting and preserving our national heritage. Individual museums have Conservation departments dedicated to the care of objects in their collections. Researchers at the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) work to better understand how materials and composite objects deteriorate in order to develop and improve conservation techniques and technologies.

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Search over 10 million digital records with more than 1.7 million images, video and sound files, electronic journals, and other online media.

From bees and botany to art and historic objects, the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office works urgently to bring our collections to the public online. 

3d model of antique bust

A leader in using 3D technology, the Smithsonian X 3D Explorer allows visitors to explore, use and study online 3D models of some of our most iconic items. 

Collections Sampler

Visit Explore Interests for more collection images and featured stories!

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