Smithsonian is a laboratory for learning and innovation

The Smithsonian shares the depth and breadth of the institution’s extraordinary collections and research with learners of all ages and educators everywhere. Our more than 300 educators and 200 Affiliate organizations bring Smithsonian knowledge, compelling stories, exhibitions and artifacts, and inquiry-based lessons to more than 8 million learners across the globe each year.

All facets of the Smithsonian—21 museums, 14 education and research centers, and the National Zoo—are committed to reaching communities near and far. We connect with diverse audiences, including under-resourced communities and underserved individuals, to enrich programs, curriculum and exhibitions. We invite dialogue and exchange to inspire communities of learners to think critically about complex global challenges.

Smithsonian Education

For more than 175 years, the Smithsonian has sparked curiosity and a passion for knowledge. Today, our dynamic educators continue this pursuit, showcasing stories, artifacts, and exhibitions to over 8 million young people around the globe. Each year, across 21 museums and libraries, the National Zoo and Science Centers, the Smithsonian proudly partners with teachers to develop interactive lessons for all ages and at-home activities for families. Many of our museums offer virtual age-appropriate field trips and interactive experiences, giving students a view of the Smithsonian without ever leaving their home or classroom. We also offer many localized resources, from STEAM initiatives and environmental awareness projects to programs that spotlight art and honor cultural heritage. As we aim to reach every classroom in America, Smithsonian education has an incredible opportunity to empower tomorrow's innovators, those who will live and work on Mars, solve the climate change crisis, and write the next chapter of our collective history. Our mission is clear. We're investing in our future leaders today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.



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student activity

Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology

The Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology (OET) produces the Smithsonian Learning Lab an engaging digital destination for the discovery, creation, and sharing of new ideas and knowledge and supports development of critical, lifelong skills. It offers free digital access to more than a million Smithsonian artworks, artifacts, specimens, and recordings; thousands of standards-aligned teaching materials; and hundreds of model learning collections the Smithsonian has created for the K-12 classroom. OET collaborates through partnerships with educational organizations, libraries, school districts, and universities to engage various audiences in using the Lab through formal training and special projects.

DC Public Schools Night at the Air and Space Museum.

Learn with Smithsonian DC

Learn with Smithsonian DC is a first of its kind strategic initiative designed to cultivate a holistic approach to serving pre-K through grade 12 students, educators, and families in our local DC Metro communities. Our first institutional partner is DC Public Schools (DCPS). Working in direct support of the school system’s goals, Smithsonian educators are providing students with real-world, hands-on programs in our museums, curriculum-connected activities and online resources for use in classrooms, and professional development for educators. Our goal is to create rich and equitable learning opportunities for all pre-K-12 Metro DC students.

A group of students wearing masks smiles at the camera. One is holding a shark jaw.

Smithsonian Affiliations

Smithsonian Affiliations share the Institution’s resources with Americans in their own communities by developing collaborative partnerships with museums, cultural, and educational organizations. Together, we bring the Smithsonian, in all of its breadth and scope, to local communities and create lasting experiences that broaden perspectives on science, history, world cultures, and the arts. There are more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliates in more than 40 states, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

TSA Campers

Smithsonian Associates

Smithsonian Associates offers unparalleled access to the Smithsonian's world of knowledge through innovative, engaging programming that promotes learning, enrichment, and creativity for people of all ages. The largest museum-based educational program in the world, Smithsonian Associates annually offers more than 750 seminars, performances, lectures, studio art classes, and local and regional study tours. Performances at Discovery Theater and more than 80 educationally focused summer camps are among the programs that foster the joys of learning for young people and their families.

A woman interacts with a screen in an exhibition.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service serves as the Institution’s ambassador and emissary through traveling and virtual exhibits that bring knowledge, discovery, and experiences to people across America and beyond. Wherever SITES goes, it stimulates conversations: between the national and local, between the expected and unexpected. SITES’ presence changes lives, institutions, and communities. (Image: courtesy the Heinz History Center)

Two young girls working with science project.

Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Smithsonian Science Education Center is transforming K–12 Education through Science in collaboration with communities across the globe. This unique organization promotes inquiry-based STEM teaching and learning; ensures diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in K–12 STEM education; advances STEM education for sustainable development; and translates the research and collections of the Smithsonian into meaningful tools and convenings for K–12 students, teachers and administrators through its STEM curriculum, digital assets, professional development, and leadership development.