One Smithsonian

Addressing complicated issues and global problems such as zoonotic diseases, climate change, and the rapid loss of natural resources resulting from human activities and population pressures requires work that spans disciplines and organizational boundaries. The Smithsonian’s potential to tackle complex challenges, as well as to innovate in design, technology, and other pursuits, is greatest when our museums, galleries, Zoo, research centers, education centers, and mission-support offices work together as One Smithsonian.

This section of the Dashboard highlights forward-thinking, interdisciplinary, and cross-Smithsonian activities that tackle pressing issues and chart new paths that the Smithsonian is particularly well suited to address due to its unique combination of science, history, art, and culture experts and global partnerships. Learn more at Torch, Smithsonian Global, Smithsonian Insider, and Join the conversation at Second Opinion.

painting of nude with guitar

Year of Music 2019

The Smithsonian Year of Music 2019, an Institution-wide initiative, will highlight and share with the public the Smithsonian’s vast and extraordinary musical holdings, scholarship, and activities related to music. At the core of this celebration will be the public-facing program “365 Days of Music at the Smithsonian,” offering at least one musical event—such as a lecture, music release, concert, or workshop—somewhere at the Smithsonian every day in 2019. Another highlight will be the 2019 Folklife Festival program “The Social Power of Music.” Outreach and information on the daily events will be found on Smithsonian Music’s existing website.

Smithsonian Secretary shaking hands with robot

Meet Pepper the Robot

In April, the Smithsonian introduced its newest employee “Pepper”, a humanoid robot, in six exhibit, gallery, and educational spaces across the Institution. Softbank Robotics donated 25 of the likeable robots to the Smithsonian, which are being piloted as an interactive tool to assist the work of educators and visitor services professionals. The project was incubated over the past year by the Arts & Industries Building team, the offices of Visitor Services and Public Affairs, and the pilot sites. Currently, Pepper can answer frequently asked questions, tell stories, and collect limited information, as well as dance, play games, and pose for selfies. She (or he?) can also display images, text, and video on a tablet mounted to her/his chest.

plastic pollution on the beach in Alaska

Reducing Plastics Use

As part of its observance of the 48th Earth Day on April 22, 2018, and the Earth Day Network campaign to End Plastic Pollution, the Smithsonian announced its One Smithsonian Plastics Reduction Initiative. Smithsonian scientists have long studied and documented the growing threat to our oceans, lakes, streams and their wildlife from plastics pollution. While the Institution has made progress in making its facilities and operations more sustainable, it can do more. The initiative will draw from the collective expertise of facilities and commercial operations as well as arts, culture and environmental science units to find ways to further reduce the Smithsonian’s use of plastics, in particular the quantity of single-use disposable plastics.