At the heart of the Smithsonian’s 21 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo are the people who sustain our commitment to celebrating our nation’s history, our art and science, our inventions—and preserving them for future generations.
Private support through Friends of the Smithsonian membership plays a pivotal role in every Smithsonian experience. It is essential to this institution and its mission. Donors can choose to provide unrestricted support through a variety of Friends membership programs which offer exclusive benefits, privileges, and recognition.
If you choose to join as a $1,000 Castle Circle member or a member of the James Smithson Society, where annual gifts start at $2,500, you will be part of an extraordinarily dedicated group of friends and experience the wonders of the Smithsonian in a more engaged and rewarding way, with additional, specially designed benefits.
When you become a Friends of the Smithsonian member you become part of an important philanthropic group. Collectively, the Friends help make possible the one-of-a-kind exhibitions, programs, website content, research, and educational resources that people associate with the Smithsonian.
Membership support enriches the lives of children, families, and adults who seek knowledge and meaningful entertainment from the Smithsonian, across the country and around the world.
Please join us today.
Friends of the Smithsonian
A membership in the Friends of the Smithsonian provides philanthropic support to the entire institution, including all of our museums, the National Zoo, our research centers, Smithsonian website, outreach programs, and much more.
All Friends of the Smithsonian receive a subscription to Smithsonian magazine, exclusive shopping and dining discounts at the museums and online, and more! Explore all benefits below.
To thank Castle Circle members for your especially generous support, we are pleased to offer these benefits, designed to enhance your relationship with the Smithsonian.
Castle Circle members receive all Curator membership benefits in addition to perks and privileges specially selected for Castle Circle members.
In addition to enjoying all that Friends of the Smithsonian and Castle Circle has to offer, our most generous friends receive unique benefits designed to draw you into the heart of the Smithsonian and recognize your support in extraordinary ways. Please consider joining at one of these levels.
We are pleased to offer a variety of events curated for our different membership levels. Our signature events include an in-person lecture by a distinguished Smithsonian curator, scholar or expert and an after-hours, behind-the-scenes tour with reception for one of the Smithsonian's latest exhibitions. All member levels are invited to four virtual lectures from Smithsonian experts.
Members of the Castle Circle also enjoy an evening reception in a museum after hours specifically for Castle Circle members.
James Smithson Society members are granted early entry and a small private reception to select signature events, as well as an invitation for two to the Annual Smithsonian Weekend; a special weekend event with exclusive lectures and tours, a keynote address from the Secretary, and evening events with Smithsonian's leadership held in Smithsonian museums. Members at this level also receive an invitation to an exclusive exhibition opening or behind-the-scenes tour and to our summer Food for Thought lecture/luncheon series.
Our events are not limited to the Smithsonian’s campus. We take Smithsonian experts across the country to special in-person lecture/luncheon events and partner with Smithsonian Affiliate Museums. Members may also be invited to regional events put on by other Smithsonian museums.
Tax Information About Your Membership Dues
In accordance with IRS regulations, membership dues payments to the Friends of the Smithsonian are tax deductible, minus the fair market value of the customizable benefits you choose to receive. See a listing of our tax-deductible benefits and information for 2023: Friends of the Smithsonian and James Smithson Society. Over and above to their dues, many Friends of the Smithsonian members make additional gifts which are 100% tax-deductible.
Looking for a Media Membership?
Join the Friends of the Smithsonian at the Supporting Member level to receive Smithsonian magazine, a celebration of history, science, nature, and world culture, along with special member discounts in museums and online. This membership does not receive tax deduction benefits.
We can answer any questions you may have regarding your Friends of the Smithsonian membership or events you wish to attend, provide directions, or assist you in any other Smithsonian matter of importance to you. Or, get answers to frequently asked questions about Friends of the Smithsonian memberships and gifts in our FAQ »