Smithsonian Campaign—By the Numbers

January 1, 2016
Media Fact Sheet

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The Smithsonian Campaign will raise $1.5 billion to invest in people, places, programs and collections:


  • People ($135 million, 9 percent of goal) 
    Gifts will fund 85 endowed positions: senior directors who use the Smithsonian’s vast resources in innovative ways; curators and educators who serve as teachers and investigators; fellows who train young researchers and scholars.
  • Places ($518 million, 35 percent of goal) 
    Support will build a new museum and mount new exhibitions; strengthen the Smithsonian’s scientific presence with installations, laboratories and facilities; transform galleries, halls and museum spaces.
  • Programs ($756 million, 50 percent of goal) 
    Gifts will energize exhibitions and mount new ones; launch research initiatives that increase knowledge; enable the Smithsonian to connect more people to its exhibitions and expertise.
  • Collections that preserve our heritage ($91 million, 6 percent of goal) 
    Support will enhance the Smithsonian’s ability to engage more people through digitization, organization, modernization and new technologies; help it acquire new specimens and objects; conserve and preserve objects and collections.

Smithsonian Campaign priorities include:

  • Endowment: $350 million 
    Endowment provides the Smithsonian with a bedrock of funding and stability for the future, enabling it to innovate, plan ahead and recruit and retain talented leaders in science, culture, history and art.
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture: $270 million   
    The campaign will support construction and create exhibitions and public programs for this new museum, which opens on the National Mall in 2016.
  • Education: $75 million 
    Every year, Smithsonian educators share the Institution’s knowledge, collections and scholarship with more than 8 million learners of all ages, on-site and online. Campaign gifts will fund hands-on education centers, distance learning and the Smithsonian’s reach into the nation’s classrooms.
  • Giant Magellan Telescope: $50 million    
    The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is pursuing this century’s greatest quest: to find signs of life elsewhere in the universe using the most advanced technology.

 Campaign gifts already are transforming the Smithsonian. To date, the Smithsonian has:

  • Raised more than $1.3 billion overall for the campaign
  • Raised $335 million for endowment; 49 endowed positions, including six director positions, 13 curatorial positions and 30 fellowships
  • Raised $239 million to build the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Established a global research program on marine coastal ecology
  • Raised the funds to revitalize the Renwick Gallery and the National Air and Space Museum’s grand entrance hall, now called the Boeing Milestones of Flight gallery
  • Raised funds to support more than 100 new exhibitions
  • Opened five new education centers, with more on the way
  • Received 254 gifts of $1 million or more
  • Received $446 million in gifts from Smithsonian advisory boards
  • Received the largest-ever gifts to 12 museums and research centers

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Linda St. Thomas

(202) 633-5188