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

Dr. Ursula Marvin, (August 20, 1921–February 12, 2018) planetary geologist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, display

First AWHI Symposium to Be on Smithsonian Working Women

The first of five major annual public symposia sponsored by the American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) will take place December 17 to 18, 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery. Working Women: The Smithsonian Institution as a Case Study will examine the topic of women at the Smithsonian as a microcosm and reflection of larger societal trends of the last 150 years in the U.S. Examples from across the Institution at all levels of service will seek to uncover not only the influences women have had at the Smithsonian and in its reach across the world, but also their career pathways and the obstacles they faced along the way.

An endangered purple fringeless orchid discovered on a private farm in Virginia July 24 by citizen scientists. Photo: Courtesy o

Smithsonian Citizen Scientists Discover Endangered Orchid

Citizen scientists in two Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) programs, the Changing Landscapes Initiative and Virginia Working Landscapes, discovered a specimen of a rare purple fringeless orchid (Platanthera peramoena), estimated to have fewer than 1,000 individual plants left in the state. The orchid surveys are part of a pilot study in collaboration with the North American Orchid Conservation Center, which includes scientists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). The three programs are exploring the potential for orchid diversity and abundance to serve as an indicator of forest health.

US-Germany Seminar on Museums as Spaces for Social Discourse

U.S. and Germany to Examine Museums and Social Discourse

A transatlantic seminar, Museums as Spaces for Social Discourse and Learning, hosted by the Smithsonian in partnership with Germany’s Leibniz Association and Fulbright Germany, will take place at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. on November 4-7, 2019. Twelve German and 12 American curators, educators, and other professionals working in museums or similar institutions will explore how such organizations enlighten contemporary issues by relating them to the past, and how they may impact the future. Thus, as spaces for social discourse and learning, museums are vital for democracies.