Membership

Every membership helps the Smithsonian thrive

At the heart of the Smithsonian’s 21 museums, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo are the people who sustain our commitment to celebrating our nation’s history, our art and science, our inventions—and preserving them for future generations.

Private support through Friends of the Smithsonian membership plays a pivotal role in every Smithsonian experience. It is essential to this institution and its mission. Donors can choose to provide unrestricted support through a variety of Friends membership programs which offer exclusive benefits, privileges, and recognition.

If you choose to join as a $1,000 Castle Circle member or a member of the James Smithson Society, where annual gifts start at $2,500, you will be part of an extraordinarily dedicated group of friends and experience the wonders of the Smithsonian in a more engaged and rewarding way, with additional, specially designed benefits.

When you become a Friends of the Smithsonian member you become part of an important philanthropic group. Collectively, the Friends help make possible the one-of-a-kind exhibitions, programs, website content, research, and educational resources that people associate with the Smithsonian.

Membership support enriches the lives of children, families, and adults who seek knowledge and meaningful entertainment from the Smithsonian, across the country and around the world.

Please join us today.

Friends of the Smithsonian

A membership in the Friends of the Smithsonian provides philanthropic support to the entire institution, including all of our museums, the National Zoo, our research centers, Smithsonian website, outreach programs, and much more.

All Friends of the Smithsonian receive a subscription to Smithsonian magazine, exclusive shopping and dining discounts at the museums and online, and more! Explore all benefits below.

A Smithsonian annual engagement calendar with full-color images of exceptional art and artifacts.

Subscription to Smithsonian, the award-winning magazine of the arts, sciences, and history.

Invitations to four exclusive virtual programs with Smithsonian curators

20% discount in Smithsonian Museum Stores*; 10% discount with the Smithsonian Catalogue, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and online; and at selected Smithsonian dining facilities.

Recognition in the Friends of the Smithsonian Honor Roll displayed electronically in the Member Reception Center.

Special member rate for tickets to the Smithsonian’s IMAX® theaters and Einstein Planetarium.

Free admission to the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City.

* Smithsonian Museum Stores discount is good only on purchases up to $200.

A complimentary copy of the annual Smithsonian museum guidebook.

Invitation to a special welcome event for new members at a Smithsonian venue.

Plus all Scholar level benefits

 

A gift edition of a major Smithsonian exhibition catalogue or publication.

An annual invitation to a members-only lecture by a distinguished Smithsonian curator, scholar or expert.

Updates on important initiatives and museum news from Smithsonian leadership.

Plus all Archivist level benefits

 

Invitations to after-hours, behind-the-scenes tour, or receptions that give insight into the Smithsonian's latest exhibitions and research.

Receipt of the Smithsonian Annual Report, which provides an overview of the Smithsonian's achievements and priorities.

Updates on important initiatives and museum news from Smithsonian leadership.

Plus all Researcher level benefits

 

Castle Circle

To thank Castle Circle members for your especially generous support, we are pleased to offer these benefits, designed to enhance your relationship with the Smithsonian.

Castle Circle members receive all Curator membership benefits in addition to perks and privileges specially selected for Castle Circle members.

Special invitations during the year to members-only tours, receptions, and lectures. This includes one Castle-Circle-specific evening reception in a museum after hours.

Newsletters with insider information for our members.

A Castle Circle membership representative at the Smithsonian to respond to your inquiries, including help in planning a visit to the Smithsonian.

Plus all Curator level benefits

 

James Smithson Society

In addition to enjoying all that Friends of the Smithsonian and Castle Circle has to offer, our most generous friends receive unique benefits designed to draw you into the heart of the Smithsonian and recognize your support in extraordinary ways. Please consider joining at one of these levels.

Invitation for two to the Annual Smithsonian Weekend, a special chance to access the Smithsonian as few do. Experience exclusive lectures and tours from curators and scholars, hear the Secretary's Keynote Address covering Institutional priorities and achievements, and join in evening events with Smithsonian's leadership held in Smithsonian museums.

Private receptions and early entry at select Friends of the Smithsonian events.

Invitation to an exclusive James Smithson Society exhibition opening or behind-the-scenes tour.

Invitation to the annual Food for Thought luncheon series and opportunity to sponsor.

Newsletters with insider information for our members.

Special recognition in the Smithsonian annual report and other publications.

Personal access to Smithson Society staff through the Society’s direct phone line, and assistance when planning a visit to Smithsonian museums.

Plus all Castle Circle level benefits

 

A private, scholar hosted tour in a Smithsonian museum, research center, or Affiliate museum upon request.

A $150-level Friends of the Smithsonian membership to give as a gift.

Invitations to special Smithsonian events across the country.

Plus all S. Dillon Ripley Circle level benefits

 

Invitation to an exclusive event during the Annual Smithsonian Weekend.

Complimentary tickets for two guests to accompany you to the Smithson Dinner during the Annual Smithsonian Weekend (upon request).

Special recognition in the Annual Smithsonian Weekend Dinner Program.

Opportunity to consult with a Smithsonian curator about an object the donor owns or is considering purchasing (by appointment).

Plus all Samuel Pierpont Langley Circle level benefits

An additional optional benefit is available to members of the Henry and Adams Circles. Members may choose two complimentary tickets for guests to the Annual Smithsonian Weekend's Smithson Dinner. (Due to the high market value of these benefits, your request for these benefits will decrease the tax-deductible portion of your membership dues. Please contact the Smithson Society for more information.)

Invitation for two to the annual Adams Circle private reception and dinner with museum leaders, along with special access to Smithsonian collections through tours.

Opportunity for a personalized tour of a new exhibition with the organizing curator.

An opportunity to visit one of the Smithsonian’s research centers across the United States or Panama.

Plus all Joseph Henry Circle level benefits

An additional optional benefit is available to members of the Henry and Adams Circles. Members may choose two complimentary tickets for guests to the Annual Smithsonian Weekend's Smithson Dinner. (Due to the high market value of these benefits, your request for these benefits will decrease the tax-deductible portion of your membership dues. Please contact the Smithson Society for more information.)

Member Events

We are pleased to offer a variety of events curated for our different membership levels. Our signature events include an in-person lecture by a distinguished Smithsonian curator, scholar or expert and an after-hours, behind-the-scenes tour with reception for one of the Smithsonian's latest exhibitions. All member levels are invited to four virtual lectures from Smithsonian experts.

Members of the Castle Circle also enjoy an evening reception in a museum after hours specifically for Castle Circle members.

James Smithson Society members are granted early entry and a small private reception to select signature events, as well as an invitation for two to the Annual Smithsonian Weekend; a special weekend event with exclusive lectures and tours, a keynote address from the Secretary, and evening events with Smithsonian's leadership held in Smithsonian museums. Members at this level also receive an invitation to an exclusive exhibition opening or behind-the-scenes tour and to our summer Food for Thought lecture/luncheon series.

Our events are not limited to the Smithsonian’s campus. We take Smithsonian experts across the country to special in-person lecture/luncheon events and partner with Smithsonian Affiliate Museums. Members may also be invited to regional events put on by other Smithsonian museums.

View featured upcoming and recent member events »

Tax Information About Your Membership Dues

In accordance with IRS regulations, membership dues payments to the Friends of the Smithsonian are tax deductible, minus the fair market value of the customizable benefits you choose to receive. See a listing of our tax-deductible benefits and information for 2021. Over and above to their dues, many Friends of the Smithsonian members make additional gifts which are 100% tax-deductible.

Contact Us

We can answer any questions you may have regarding your Friends of the Smithsonian membership or events you wish to attend, provide directions, or assist you in any other Smithsonian matter of importance to you. Or, get answers to frequently asked questions about Friends of the Smithsonian memberships and gifts in our FAQ »

Friends of the Smithsonian

t: 202-633-6300
t: 800-931-3226 (toll free)
f: 202-633-2043
membership@si.edu

 

Mailing Address
Friends of the Smithsonian
PO Box 37012, MRC 712
Washington, DC 20013-7012

James Smithson Society

t: 202-633-2040
t: 877-JSS-1775 (toll free)
smithsonsociety@si.edu

 

Mailing Address
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, Suite 3150
Washington, DC 20560-0410

John Perell

John Perell

Director, Friends of the Smithsonian

Laura Brouse-Long

Laura Brouse-Long

Director, James Smithson Society and Smithsonian Giving Circles

Please stop by the Friends of the Smithsonian Reception Center during your next visit to the Smithsonian and the National Mall. Membership staff will be delighted to assist you in planning your visit to the museums, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding your membership or the Institution.

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., except federal holidays.