Support and Join

Help us preserve America's past and shape the future through innovative exhibitions, educational resources, and ground-breaking research.

Smithsonian experts are addressing critical issues in the fields of science, history, art, and culture—issues that affect us all. The Smithsonian has always relied on private support in addition to federal funds. In fact, the Smithsonian was founded by a private donation from James Smithson to the United States government. Federal appropriations provide the foundation of our operating budget and support many core functions. However, we rely on private donations of all sizes to support other priorities, including exhibitions, research, educational outreach, and special projects.