Office of the Under Secretary for Education

Under Secretary Dr. Monique Chism stands with a group of students in front of a museum artwork.

Inspire curiosity and connections in a changing world

A world where learning is collaborative and transformative for everyone

The Smithsonian is one of the nation’s—and the world’s—most powerful resources to support and enhance learning. With a legacy as one of the nation’s most trusted resources for learning since 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is at the forefront of opening pathways to knowledge for anyone, anywhere, free of charge.

We are situated at the intersection of science, art, history, and culture in an unparalleled way. Our unique, highly effective educational experiences and digital platforms draw on the unmatched interdisciplinary resources of the world's largest museum, education, and research complex.

Our Smithsonian educators use these distinctive tools to support a deeper understanding of the most pressing concerns of our time. We collaborate with organizations across the country to address ongoing academic, social, and emotional needs and close achievement gaps, ensuring all pre-K-12 students reach their full potential.

We have set an ambitious goal for the Institution to reach every classroom in the country with free Smithsonian education resources. To realize this vision, we are developing a robust network of external partnerships with government agencies, State Education Agencies, education associations, educators, school districts, and community organizations across the United States and beyond to engage teachers and students in the classroom and during out-of-school time.

The initiatives reflected here offer immense potential to empower teachers, boost student achievement, and broaden horizons for all young people.

Smithsonian Education enriches a thriving national culture of learning and improvement, and we inspire learners to imagine, wonder, and discover.

Major Initiatives

Teachers engage in an all-day professional development

Engaging Rural Communities

The Smithsonian Rural Initiative, founded in 2021, seeks to build deeper connections in communities across the country where we have not historically had a strong presence. Working with local leaders to understand the landscape in their communities, the Smithsonian commits to expanding programming and resources in regions where needs are greatest. The Rural Initiative also creates opportunities for dialogue, prioritizes diversity, and supports collaborations with networks of local organizations serving rural audiences. As much as we seek to share, we aim to learn even more from communities across the country.  

An educator stands in front of a George Washington statue addressing a group of students in bright blue matching t-shirts

Beyond the Bell: Learning Outside the Classroom

Smithsonian educators are partnering with out-of-school youth organizations across the country to design high-quality learning experiences for pre-K-12 students.   

A panel of four adults are smiling in conversation seated on a stage

Smithsonian National Education Summit

The annual Smithsonian National Education Summit engages and empowers a national network of preK-12 educators while highlighting Smithsonian instructional resources to ensure every student has an opportunity to thrive. This free, multi-day event convenes leading education experts to discuss trends, policies, and resources that support success in the classroom.