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.

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.

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.