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Smithsonian Affiliations establishes long-term partnerships with museums, education, and cultural organizations to facilitate the loan of Smithsonian artifacts and traveling exhibitions, as well as to develop innovative educational collaborations locally and nationally. Created in 1996 by an act of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, the program is overseen by the Smithsonian’s Assistant Secretary for Education and Access and is one of the pillars of the Institution’s national outreach efforts.
There are more than 200 Smithsonian Affiliates in nearly every state, Puerto Rico and Panama. Affiliates represent the diversity of America’s museum community—size, location and subject—and serve all audiences. More than 8,000 Smithsonian artifacts have been displayed at Affiliate locations for the past 20 years. These loans reflect the entire Smithsonian collection: space capsules and aircraft from the National Air and Space Museum, Abraham Lincoln’s hat and Kermit the Frog from the National Museum of American History, sculptures and paintings from the Smithsonian art museums and ethnographic and mineral collections from the National Museum of Natural History, to name a few.
Millions of people have been able to experience the Smithsonian in their own communities through Smithsonian traveling exhibits and other Affiliate-sponsored programs such as Smithsonian Week in Riverside, Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos, Young Historians, Living Histories, teacher workshops, distance-learning programs, lectures, book tours and performances by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
- A dedicated Smithsonian Affiliations National Outreach Manager who serves as the primary liaison between Affiliates and Smithsonian organizations.
- Only Affiliates may use the Smithsonian Affiliate logo and tagline “in association with the Smithsonian.”
- Current Affiliates may participate in the annual Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference in Washington, D.C., which offers Affiliate partners engaging sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.
- “Two memberships in one”—Affiliates can participate in the Smithsonian Affiliate Membership Program, offering a Smithsonian membership at a discount to their own members.
- Professional development—Affiliates can further their professional skills through the Smithsonian Affiliations Visiting Professional Program.
- Affiliates have the opportunity for more in-depth collaboration by providing a national voice in Smithsonian initiatives.
More information about the benefits of a Smithsonian affiliation and a directory of Affiliates can be found online at affiliations.si.edu. In addition to general information about the program, the public can stay connected with Smithsonian Affiliations by engaging with current Affiliates and Smithsonian staff through various social media outlets, including The Affiliate Blog, Smithsonian Affiliations Facebook page, @SIAffiliates on Twitter and read The Affiliate newsletter on issuu.com/smithsonian_affiliations.
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