Youth Programs

The Smithsonian offers fun and challenging (and sometimes mind-blowing!) experiences for K-12 kids interested in science, nature, technology, art , design, history, culture, or all of the above. These programs build confidence and skills of self-expression, communication, leadership, and provide college and career preparation, in extraordinary museum environments.

Secretary with Kermit

Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council

The Smithsonian Secretary’s Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) was created by our current Secretary, Dr. David Skorton. It provides a direct line for youthful perspectives to Smithsonian leadership, through in-person and virtual meetings, with SSYAC members serving all Smithsonian youth by representing their ideas and concerns. Teen members receive special tours at Smithsonian museums, and gain invaluable life and leadership experience, in collaborative dialogue with other youth and the Smithsonian Secretary.
Ages 16-18, high school juniors and seniors


Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) Internship Program

YES! is a 12-week career immersion and science communication program for Washington, D.C., region high school students. Gain practical experience through a hands-on internship with Smithsonian science staff, take exclusive behind-the-scenes tours and field trips, attend creative studio workshops, participate in a college preparatory program and create a community outreach project about their science experience.
Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors

science students

Youth Engagement through Science Genome Internship Program

Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) is a career immersion and science communication internship for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors from high schools in the Washington, D.C., region. Working side-by-side with Smithsonian science staff and researchers, the YES! program familiarizes local youth with science resources, and can help them achieve the goal of attending college.
Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors

teens at Freer | Sackler Event

Teen Council: Freer | Sackler

Teen Council is a group of 12 creative and dedicated high school students who help make our museums more welcoming and engaging for young people. The Teen Council plans and hosts events that invite D.C.-area teens to hang out and have fun, make art, and build an incredible community together at the museum.
Ages 13-19

teen council

Teen Council: National Portrait Gallery

Teen Museum Council is an intensive year-long program for D.C. Metro area teens who would like a role making teen programs at the Portrait Gallery! Throughout the  academic year, TMC members work on a variety of activities for other DC-area teens, such as creating a teen art exhibition, organizing a teen night out, collaborating on social media projects, initiating a video project, or offering a special teen-led tour of the Portrait Gallery. Come help us make history!
Ages 14-18

teen ambassador

Teen Ambassadors Program: African Art

The Teen Ambassadors is the National Museum of African Art’s signature teen program. It's an opportunity for teens in the D.C. metro area with an interest in the arts, culture and history of Africa to learn to serve as frontline interpreters at the museum. Our Teen Ambassadors serve as storytellers and meaning-makers in the Museum environment, providing programming to a wide variety of visitors.

A diverse group of students

Cooper Hewitt Scholars Program

The Cooper Hewitt Scholars Program is a 5-semester intensive design experience that includes portfolio development, professional skill-building, out-of-state college trips, studio visits, paid internship placements, and other substantial opportunities for teens preparing for college and careers in design. Sophomore scholars attend a week-long design camp, while juniors and seniors are placed in paid summer design internships.
High School Sophomores

group of 2013 ambassadors

Young Ambassadors Program

The Young Ambassadors Program (YAP) is a national program for graduating high school seniors, fostering the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences, and humanities via the Smithsonian Institution and its resources. Students with an interest in and commitment to the arts, sciences, and humanities as it pertains to Latino communities and cultures are selected to travel to Washington, D.C., for a week-long seminar at the Smithsonian.
Graduating high school seniors

student volunteers

National Air and Space Museum Summer Volunteer Program

This program at the National Air and Space Museum is for students interested in aviation, astronomy, and space exploration who enjoy interacting with people. Conduct a variety of educational activities with Museum visitors: hands-on discovery stations, telescopes at the Public Observatory, story time with young children, and Welcome Desk. Work 2 days each week, and presents a simple research project about an artifact at the Museum.
16+ years-old; primarily high school and college students

youth volunteers

Q?Crew Teen Volunteer Program

Are you interested in science? Do you like talking to people? Are you a teen? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you might be a good fit for the all-teen volunteer squad—the Q?Crew Program at the National Museum of Natural History.
Grades 9-11

teen explainer

Explainers Program

The NASM Explainers Program hires high school and college students to help visitors better understand the Museum’s collection, making person-to-person connections with our iconic artifacts and stories about the science and technology that make innovation possible. Explainers work at either the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., or at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.
16 years and older




The Hirshhorn‘s ARTLAB+ is a radically inclusive digital arts program for teens, providing a safe space to develop creative professional skills and new communities of young artists. Join production teams and workshops, hangout, explore, tinker. Choose  projects using professional video and photo gear, music and recording equipment, video games and graphic design resources. A staff of artist mentors serves teens after school, year round. 
Ages 13-19

art science student

Art-Science Workshops

Dive into the amazing collection of creatures in the National Museum of Natural History’s Q?rius space to explore the inspiring ways animals and plants sense the world through light, sound, touch, proximity and vibration. Explore how artists and musicians work with sensory technology and environments at the Hirshhorn’s ARTLAB+. Collaborate with scientists and artists to develop your own electronic inventions about the future of sensing and human perception.
Grades 6-12

teen photographer with framed photo


Do you have fun taking photos? Do you like portraiture? Want to say more about who you are? Looking at famous people and portraits, using cameras, and more, you will create a unique portrait during this 4-day workshop. What will your portrait say about YOU? The National Portrait Gallery's IMAGINE=IMAGE program uses the power of portraiture to prompt young people to closely examine themselves—who they are and who they aspire to be.
Ages 13 to 15


smiling young campers

Smithsonian Summer Camp

There's no more exciting place to spend the summer than Summer Camp at the Smithsonian. Where else can campers blast into space or take center stage, create a masterpiece or invent a fantasy world, relive history or learn to shape the future of the planet? The rich and exciting world of the Smithsonian Summer Camp program offers plenty of great fun & experiences that spark the imagination!
Entering Kindergarten through 8th grade

nature campers

Safari Day Camps at the National Zoo

Spring, Summer, and Winter day camps include exciting hands-on activities, lessons, craft projects, science experiments, and walks through the Zoo.
Grades K-7

FONZ campers in landscape

Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) Nature Camp

Founded on the concept that what we do has an impact and makes a difference, FONZ Nature Camp reunites its participants with nature through exploration of the outdoors. Our campers are provided a secure, non-competitive environment where they expand upon their skills and knowledge related to science, nature, and the environment.
Grades 5-10

young designers

Design Camp: Cooper Hewitt

Is your child a designer, tinkerer, or creative thinker? Cooper Hewitt Design Camp (NYC) offers kids week-long immersion in the latest advances in design, with the opportunity for each child to solve real-life design challenges with guest designers who share problem-solving strategies. Campers receive special access to the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collections.
Ages 7-12

Young Learners

preschool children

Preschool and Homeschool Classes at the National Zoo

Looking to make science come to life for your young animal lover? Friends of the National Zoo runs weekly classes for children ages 2-13.  Bring your toddler to learn about a new animal friend each week or enrich your homeschooler’s science curriculum with our unique 5-week class series.  All classes include age-appropriate hands-on activities and explorations, craft projects, and walks through the Zoo.  
Ages 2-13

Museum Academy Banner

Museum Academy Program

The Anacostia Community Museum offers a model out-of-school-time (OST) integrated program. The Museum Academy delivers an experiential cultural arts education that challenges young people's perceptions, broadens their perspectives, and deepens understanding by examining issues affecting communities in Anacostia and throughout the world.
During school year, Grades 3-6 residing in Ward 8; During summer, Grade 6

Teen Events and Activities