Our Organization

Weeping cherry tree and Castle

The Smithsonian Institution was established by an act of Congress in 1846 as an independent federal trust instrumentality, a unique public-private partnership that has proven its value as a cultural and scientific resource for more than 170 years. The federal commitment provides the foundation for all we do, and is especially helpful in attracting private support. We leverage our federal funding to enrich the lives of the American people and advance our mission for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

Congress vested responsibility for the administration of the Smithsonian in a Board of Regents, consisting of the Chief Justice of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, three members of the United States Senate, three members of the United States House of Representatives, and nine citizens. The Board of Regents meets at least four times each year and typically convenes in the Regents Room. 

The head of the Smithsonian is the Secretary, who is appointed by the Board of Regents. The Secretary oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous education and research centers, including the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Smithsonian Science Education Center.

Smithsonian Organization Chart (PDF) (get.adobe.com/reader)


  • Office of the Secretary
  • Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer
    • Under Secretary for Finance and Administration
    • Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research
  • Director, Equal Employment and Minority Affairs
  • Assistant Secretary for Advancement
  • Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs

Assistant Secretary for Advancement — Unit Advancement Directors & Chief Advancement Officers

  • Advancement Services
  • Individual Giving
  • Institutional Relations
  • Smithsonian Campaign

Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research

  • Anacostia Community Museum
  • Archives of American Art
  • Asian Pacific American Center
  • Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art
  • Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
  • Museum Conservation Institute
  • National Air & Space Museum
  • National Museum of African Art
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • National Museum of American History
  • National Museum of Natural History
  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Postal Museum
  • National Zoological Park
  • Office of International Relations
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives
  • Smithsonian Latino Center
  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Deputy Under Secretary for Collections and Interdisciplinary Support

Associate Provost for Education and Access

  • Smithsonian Science Education Center
  • Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
  • Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
  • Smithsonian Affiliations Program
  • Smithsonian Associates

Smithsonian Congress of Scholars