Using digital technologies, the Smithsonian can reach a much larger audience than the limited number of people who will ever visit its museums, archives, libraries, and other facilities in person. The Institution aims to reach one billion people worldwide with a “digital first” strategy and an "open access" policy for its collections, research, and education resources.
Smithsonian Open Access allows anyone to download, share, and reuse over four million digital media assets (two- and three-dimensional images) from the Smithsonian’s collections. These assets may be used for any purpose, without concern about copyright infringement. They include images from across the Smithsonian's 21 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, gardens, and National Zoo. For more information, visit the Open Access FAQ page.
Two important measures of the Smithsonian’s online impact are the number of visitors to its approximately 170 public websites, and visitors' satisfaction with their online experience. The Smithsonian measures the latter with randomly-posted surveys of its website visitors. The same survey questionnaire is used by over 125 government agencies, non-profits, and educational organizations, allowing the Smithsonian to benchmark its performance against peer organizations
The number of “followers” on social media platforms is an indicator of audience engagement. The Smithsonian has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms.
Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research/OCIO