Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

January 1, 2018
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Director: Stephanie Norby


The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access uses museum resources to empower learners to explore their interests, to collaborate with others, and to reach their personal and educational goals. The center develops models and methods for digital learning through extensive research and evaluation initiatives, provides tools for creative personal use of Smithsonian digital resources and works with Smithsonian museums and research centers to provide greater access to their extensive collections, programs and learning resources.


Since 1971, the center made the Smithsonian accessible and useful for individual learning, offering a wide range of services, including teacher professional development, distance education programs, instructional materials and more. The center works directly with educators and audiences in the Washington, D.C., area through its heritage programming, community literacy projects, digital arts camps for teenagers with cognitive disabilities and the Montgomery College–Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships program, which provides professional development to community college teachers. The center extends the results of this work, among other programs, to learners throughout the nation through digital-media initiatives, sharing what they have learned and developed for others to use and adapt.

The center’s major, long-term digital-education project, the Smithsonian Learning Lab (, is designed to reimagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian’s resources. Launched in beta testing in October 2015, the Learning Lab is an engaging digital destination that enables everyone to discover Smithsonian resources, create customized collections and educational experiences, and share their work with others worldwide.

Through the Learning Lab and its other projects, the center is committed to advancing the use of the Smithsonian’s digital assets in innovative ways that shape the future of learning.

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Michelle Smith

(202) 633-5326

Kristen Plemon

Plemon Communications

(616) 994-2869