James Smithson

James Smithson Society

As a James Smithson Society member, your annual gift offers a unique opportunity to connect with endeavors across the Smithsonian that are making a difference in the world.

We're Still Here for You

I hope this note finds you and your family safe and well.

As you may know, Smithsonian museums are temporarily closed to the public. As the current health crisis continues to evolve and more information regarding the virus comes to light, and in the interest of the team’s health and safety, the Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement has placed an immediate hold on any functions that require our presence in the office for the next two weeks. Regrettably this means we will not have access to our office to process any membership contributions sent by mail, or mail any membership packets or membership cards.

We know you support the Smithsonian because you believe in its mission, and, when our offices reopen, we will be pleased to acknowledge your generosity. In the meantime, should you have any questions about your membership, please contact us via email at SmithsonSociety@si.edu or by phone at 202-633-2040. If you are interested in renewing your membership we invite you to do so online.

Thank you again for being a wonderful partner with us and so many other Americans across the entire nation in sustaining this great Institution. As you make decisions on where you will give during these uncertain times, we hope you will keep the Smithsonian in mind as our researchers, scientists, educational programmers and National Zoo staff continue to do their work to keep our necessary programs up and running. Please know that our many online resources are available to you and your family during this time.

We will get through these uncertain times. Please take care of yourselves, stay safe and be well.

With warm wishes and endless gratitude,

Laura Brouse-Long
Director, James Smithson Society and Smithsonian Giving Circles

The Impact of Your Giving

James Smithson Society members make an annual gift of $2,500 or more. These gifts provide vital funds, which support every museum, research center, and program across the Smithsonian. Your annual giving at this level provides a stable source of funding, which allows the institution to remain flexible and launch its most vital new initiatives. When you join the James Smithson Society, you make an important investment in the Smithsonian.

View James Smithson Society benefits, events, and contact information »

James Smithson Society Benefits

Membership is an excellent way to deepen your connection with the Smithsonian. Whether your passion is science, history, art, or culture, you can pursue it while joining a national community of philanthropists.

In appreciation of your generous support, we invite you to enjoy members-only events around the country and in Washington, D.C., including the Annual Smithsonian Weekend, receptions in prominent Smithsonian venues, tours led by curators and scholars, the Secretary’s Keynote Address, and a formal dinner with Smithsonian leadership.

If you are a deeply dedicated Smithsonian supporter and wish to experience an even closer relationship with this one-of-a-kind institution, please accept our cordial invitation to join the James Smithson Society today.

Maasdam Family

"Both of us have military backgrounds and have spent time serving others. We want to continue to do that, and as Smithson Society members, we are part of a group of people who want to give back. There is a sense of service to mankind." – Laura & Matthew Maasdam

James Smithson's Legacy

British scientist James Smithson (1765–1829) had a passion and a vision: He believed science and knowledge benefit people everywhere and that sharing them freely could change the world for the better. Although he never set foot in America, Smithson believed in the promise of a new nation, the United States, and that it would play an important role in human progress.

Smithson bequeathed his entire estate “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” In 1846, Congress created the Smithsonian, which today is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. Smithson never could have imagined the exciting discoveries and scholarship his generous gift made possible.

We invite you to join the James Smithson Society and build on this remarkable legacy.