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

A screenshot from the Smithsonian Learning Lab homepage depicting the “Solar Wall” at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Learning Lab

Smithsonian Learning Lab, launched in 2016, is a free, interactive, web-accessible platform from the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology. It allows educators, students, and learners of all ages to create and share their own virtual learning collections, drawing on digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and National Zoo. Users can search and access more than six million images, videos, audio files, texts, 3D objects, and other resources for free educational use, as well as over 10,000 user-created learning collections.  

Jess Shue (left), a ForestGEO PI at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland


ForestGEO is a global scientific research network for long-term study of the world's forests. It includes 76 forest research plots in 29 countries, managed by over 85 partner organizations. ForestGEO grew out of a plot established in 1981 by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, where Smithsonian ecologists pioneered tree-census techniques later adopted by scientists around the world. Today, all major Smithsonian scientific museums and research centers are active members of ForestGEO, including the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, National Zoological Park’s Conservation and Research Center, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

An educator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum takes 4-H youth on a tour in the galleries.

Hosting Young Learners

Over the summer, the Smithsonian hosted over a thousand young visitors from across the nation in collaboration with the National 4-H Council and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Educator-facilitated tours of Smithsonian exhibitions and museums were coupled with exercises in critical thinking and dialogue on themes related to American democracy, civic engagement, social justice, and environmental awareness. Participating units included the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, National Museum of the American Latino, National Air and Space Museum, and Smithsonian Gardens.  

Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research/OCIO