Purpose and Vision

Our Purpose

The increase and diffusion of knowledge.

Our Plan

Our five-year Strategic Plan, launched in 2017, outlines the direction and priorities for the Smithsonian.

Our Vision

By 2022, the Smithsonian will build on its unique strengths to engage and to inspire more people, where they are, with greater impact, while catalyzing critical conversation on issues affecting our nation and the world.

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Smithsonian 2022

Greater Reach, Greater Relevance, Profound Impact
​Our five-year Strategic Plan outlines the direction and priorities for the Smithsonian.

Grand Challenges

Magnifying the Transformative Power of Arts and Design
Every day, through our museum exhibitions and collections, research, and education and outreach programs, our staff explores the arts and their impact on our world. We ask how artists are able to pose trenchant questions about the meaning of life, how the arts and design improve the lives of individuals and communities, how the arts have served and continue to serve as means for people and communities to express and share values and ideas, and how the creative process can help all people experience our shared humanity.

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
We will continue to lead in the quest to understand the fundamental nature of the cosmos, using next-generation technologies to explore our own solar system, meteorites, the Earth's geological past and present, and the paleontological record of our planet.

Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
We will use our resources across scientific museums and centers to significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of life on Earth, respond to the growing threat of environmental change, and sustain human well-being.

Valuing World Cultures
As a steward and ambassador of cultural connections, with a presence in some 100 countries and expertise and collections that encompass the globe, we will build bridges of mutual respect, and present the diversity of world cultures and the joy of creativity with accuracy, insight, and reverence.

Understanding the American Experience
America is an increasingly diverse society that shares a history, ideals, and an indomitable, innovative spirit. We will use our resources across disciplines to explore what it means to be an American and how the disparate experiences of individual groups strengthen the whole, and to share our story with people of all nations.