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

Engraving of James Smithson, by Heliotype Printing Co., c. 1881

The Smithsonian Turns 175

This summer, the Smithsonian marked the beginning of its 175th anniversary year. On August 10, 1846, after a decade of debate, U.S. President James K. Polk signed legislation to establish the Institution. Since then, the Smithsonian has become the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, with 21 museums, the National Zoo, and nine research facilities. It serves as both a traditional steward of the nation’s treasures and memories, and as an evolving organization that facilitates learning and discussion about complex contemporary challenges. Over the coming year, keep an eye out for special offerings and programming to commemorate this milestone!

Photo of the hard-copy activity guide

"Present History" Activity Guide

On August 15, 2021, the activity guide Present History was distributed nationwide to nearly two million USA TODAY subscribers, bringing Smithsonian educational content to many learners who lack computers or reliable Internet connections at home. The stories, games, and puzzles in the guide were inspired by, and served to commemorate, the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary this year. It was created by an interdisciplinary team from the National Air and Space Museum, Na­tional Museum of Natural History, National Postal Museum, Office of the Under Secretary for Edu­cation, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Smithsonian Libraries and Archives.

Photo from Our Shared Future website

"Our Shared Future" Kicks Off

The Smithsonian kicked off its initiative Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past with a virtual forum live streamed from Los Angeles on August 26, 2021. The initiative will draw resources from across the Smithsonian to explore six main themes: Race and Wellness; Race and Wealth; Race and Place; Race, Policy and Ethics; Race Beyond the U.S.; and Race, Arts and Aesthetics. Offerings will include virtual and live events across the country, as well as digital content, storytelling, and educational resources. Contributing units include the National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Latino Center, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, National Museum of American History, and others.

Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research/OCIO