Smithsonian Associates

May 1, 2017
Media Fact Sheet

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Smithsonian Associates—the largest museum-based education program in the world—produces vibrant educational and cultural programming inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions. Each year more than 750 individual programs are presented to spark creativity and excite learning in people of all ages in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country. Smithsonian Associates brings the Smithsonian to life through seminars, performances, lectures, studio arts classes and local and regional study tours, as well as many engaging programs for children, including performances, museum sleepovers and summer day camps.

Activities include:

Adult Programming

Adult programming provides opportunities for audiences to engage with leading experts in topics ranging from the arts, sciences and history to politics and music. Program formats include evening lectures and debates, multisession courses, daylong seminars and panel discussions.


In addition to lectures and seminars on a wide range of performing arts, including theater, opera, cabaret and Broadway musicals, jazz and classical music, Smithsonian Associates hosts film series and movie premieres, comedy troupes, a chorale and chamber concerts by resident ensembles: the Emerson String Quartet, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and the Axelrod String Quartet (playing rare instruments from the Smithsonian collections).

Studio Arts

Hands-on art classes are offered year-round and in a variety of formats from one-day workshops to multisession classes. Designed for art enthusiasts ages 16 and older, the programs encompass a wide range of media and are led by art professionals. Studio courses emphasize developing or enhancing techniques, showcase Smithsonian collections and encourage students to explore a variety of tools and materials.

Study Tours

Day and overnight study tours take groups beyond the National Mall. Guided by experts who encourage informal social engagement, narrate site visits and provide contextual information, tours follow in the footsteps of history at Civil War battlefields, visit exhibitions at museums along the East Coast, join experts in art, design, architecture and science on special-topic tours and explore behind the scenes at remote Smithsonian museums and research facilities in the Washington area and beyond.

Certificate Program in World Art History

The program is designed to provide a global perspective on art and architecture and draw on the Smithsonian’s world-class collections and the rich resources of other Washington institutions. Participants can choose from a wide range of core courses and electives that speak to their own interests and complete the program requirements at their own pace.

Smithsonian Sleepovers

Smithsonian Associates presents customized nighttime experiences for groups and families with children ages 8–12 in sleepover events at the National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History and the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar Hazy Center. Kids and their chaperones can choose their adventure, whether it is sleeping beneath a 50-foot whale, spending the night at the home of the Star-Spangled Banner or in the shadow of the space shuttle Discovery. They will experience the museums in a whole new way during a night of fun that features tours, games, crafts and more.

Discovery Theater

Some 50,000 children annually experience live, educational performances at the Smithsonian Associates’ Discovery Theater. Actors, musicians and puppeteers animate topics such as cultural heritage and folklore, scientific exploration, creativity and invention for students and families from pre-K through elementary school.

Smithsonian Summer Camp

More than 90 weeklong and two-week summer day camps enable children from kindergarten through eighth-grade one-of-a kind opportunities to develop new skills guided by scientists, researchers, museum curators, writers and visual and performing artists—and have plenty of fun in the process.

Smithsonian at 8

Inspired by the world of the Smithsonian, the Smithsonian at 8 event series offers one-of-a-kind experiences for guests ages 21 and up. With themes from the local to the global, these after-hours gatherings designed for young professionals, combine educational activities, music, food and drink and unique settings to create evenings that are smart, adventurous and memorably entertaining.

Art Collectors Program

Smithsonian Associates’ Art Collectors Program invites collectors to purchase commissioned contemporary fine art prints and posters by acclaimed American artists. Each limited-edition print is signed, numbered and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Proceeds support the educational and cultural programs of the Smithsonian Associates.

M.A. in Decorative Arts and Design History

Through a partnership with George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, graduate students can pursue a Master of Arts degree in Decorative Arts and Design History. Students in the program are connected to the Smithsonian’s expansive network of professionals, research communities and state-of-the-art conservation facilities. The program includes European and American-based studies enhanced with study abroad opportunities and domestic and international internships.

National Education Outreach

National Education Outreach facilitates educational and community programs across the country by engaging Smithsonian researchers, curators, historians, educators and other museum professionals to share their expertise with students, teachers and the general public beyond Washington, D.C. Training and enrichment programs for classroom teachers at the elementary and high school levels are a key feature of outreach initiatives.

For additional information contact:

Smithsonian Associates
Ripley Center, Suite 3077
1100 Jefferson Drive SW  
Washington, D.C. 20560-0701 

Mail to:
Smithsonian Associates
P.O. Box 23293
Washington, D.C. 20026-3293


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Media Only

Lauren Lyons

(202) 633-8614