Smithsonian and PBS To Provide Free Content to Educators

Collaboration Will Bring Curated Smithsonian Content to PBS LearningMedia for Pre-K–12 Educators
January 12, 2021
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Group of children watch woman being filmed by cameramen in front of mural depicting space

Behind the scenes of National Air and Space Museum’s "STEM in 30" series. Photo courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum.

The Smithsonian has announced a new collaboration with PBS to bring learning-ready content to Pre-K–12 educators nationwide. As museums remain closed due to COVID-19, beginning today, a collection of free, standards-aligned Smithsonian content will be brought to life on PBS LearningMedia—an online destination that serves more than 1.6 million users each month—with new resources to be added to this collection on a regular basis.

“Education has the power to transform young lives, particularly in communities that have been traditionally underserved, underfunded and left out of the conversation,” said Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “We are proud to work with PBS on this endeavor to provide free Smithsonian resources to pre-K­­­­­­­–12 educators, helping them in their efforts to launch a lifetime of achievement for their students.”

“PBS and the Smithsonian Institution have a shared commitment to education and helping teachers and learners connect with relevant and meaningful resources,” said Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS. “As this challenging year has made abundantly clear, it’s now more important than ever to make high-quality, educational content readily accessible to Americans nationwide. Through this partnership, we hope to build on this commitment to students across the country, helping to prepare them for success in school and beyond.”

As America’s most trusted institution and No. 1 educational media brand, PBS’ commitment to delivering award-winning, research-based content that brings learning to life continues with this collaboration. A critical resource for teachers and students nationwide, PBS LearningMedia hit record-breaking numbers as schools closed in March, April and May, reaching more than 7.5 million users.

The Smithsonian, dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge, has millions of educational resources available online. Beginning today, a curated collection of content from the Smithsonian will be available to educators across the country on PBS LearningMedia. These resources will focus on three main areas of importance to teachers, families and caregivers:

  • Interdisciplinary resources that connect content from across the Smithsonian’s many museums and research centers to introduce concepts that cross subject areas. Students might learn science through art, or history through research. These resources help foster a sense of creativity and encourage teachers and students to explore new ideas by connecting concepts across disciplines.
  • Classroom-ready content on contemporary issues of local and global importance. These resources bring the Smithsonian’s power to contextualize contemporary issues into the classroom. They provide teachers with the trusted content and expertise they need to help students make sense of the world and foster future-focused conversations around challenging topics like race, identity or the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Signature Smithsonian collections and programs. These include some of the Smithsonian’s most sought after programs like virtual tours, or the National Air and Space Museum’s Emmy-winning “STEM in 30” series.

PBS LearningMedia, a partnership between PBS and GBH, reaches more than 1.6 million unique users each month during the school year with access to free, high-quality educational resources, including “Ken Burns in the Classroom,” award-winning content curated from PBS stations across the country, trusted partners like NASA and more. Since its launch in 2011, PBS LearningMedia has continued to evolve with the growing and changing needs of educators to ensure quality and relevant content is provided to educators at no cost.

All resources are aligned to Common Core and national and state standards. The Smithsonian content collection is available in a variety of formats, including videos and interactives, documents and in-depth lesson plans. Educators can browse content and filter by standards, grade level, subject and special collections.

All Smithsonian learning-ready resources and content are publicly available and can be accessed by visiting PBS LearningMedia at

About Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 volunteers. There were more than 22 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2019. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

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