Smithsonian Associates Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Landmark Programs

Highlights Include Newsflash Series, World Art History Certificate Program and High-Profile Guests
January 2, 2015
News Release

The Smithsonian Associates—the largest museum-based education program in the world—celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015, debuting special programming to mark the occasion. The Smithsonian Associates has been creating educational and entertaining experiences since September 1965, when Secretary S. Dillon Ripley set in motion the establishment of an organization that would link people in the Washington, D.C., area to the Smithsonian’s museums and research facilities in new and dynamic ways.     

Continuing in that tradition, the Smithsonian Associates kicks off    its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with exciting new programs. An innovative series, Smithsonian Newsflash (launching Jan. 15) will look behind the headlines and amplify sound bites, providing context and insights on breaking news. The topic and featured speaker will be announced a few days before the program date. For more information the public can visit

Also in January the Smithsonian Associates launches a 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. For more information, the public can visit

Over the past 50 years the Smithsonian Associates has hosted extraordinary guests, including world leaders, political thinkers, artists, architects, scientists, authors, athletes, poets and celebrity chefs. The Smithsonian Associates will kick off 2015 when Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia join NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg in a one-of-a-kind conversation (Feb. 12). Actor Martin Sheen will discuss his iconic role as President Josiah Bartlet on The West Wing and how the show shaped the public perceptions of Washington. Sheen will be interviewed by U.S. News and World Report correspondent Ken Walsh (Feb. 17).          

A four-part series, “The Making of the Federal City” begins Jan. 24. Part of Smithsonian Associates’ 50th anniversary programming, the series explores the design and development of Washington as the capital of the United States. The series includes an all-day seminar, “A Capital Story: The History of Washington, D.C., 1783 to Today” and three lectures, one of which offers an optional study tour. The programs are generously underwritten by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.

More information about the Smithsonian Associates’ 50th anniversary programming is available at

The Smithsonian Associates 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. The 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.

# # #


Media Only

Lauren Lyons

(202) 633-8614