Our Mission is the increase and diffusion of knowledge. Our Vision is to shape the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.
Research and Collections$497m
The Smithsonian collections of nearly 155 million objects (art, artifacts and scientific specimens) are the heart of the Institution. Research, public programs and exhibitions are based on these collections which additionally include more than 10 million digital records of online material. Care of the collections involves the work of registrars, conservators, museum specialists, designers, curators and editors. Approximately 145 million objects and specimens are part of the National Museum of Natural History collections and are primarily used for research by both Smithsonian scientists and researchers from around the world. In some cases, the museum has the definitive, irreplaceable collection of a certain species which is essential for comparative studies. Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute discovered three new species of porcupine fish by comparing fossil jaws and tooth plates collected on expeditions with museum specimens and modern porcupine fish. The species were discovered in Panama's Gatun formation and the Socorro Formation in Venezuela. Two Guam rail chicks born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute were repatriated to Guam and released to the wild on the island of Rota in September 2017. The species was nearly driven to extinction by the invasive brown tree snake. The release marked the first time since 1985 that there were more Guam rails living in the wild than living in human care. There are now approximately 200 Guam rails living in the wild and 116 living in human care. The National Museum of American History added baseball equipment used by legendary Major League Baseball players including Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams and Yogi Berra to its sports collection. Smithsonian Gardens added more than 150 boxes of historical records generated by or related to the W. Atlee Burpee & Co. Seed Company to the Archives of American Gardens. The newly added collection consists of thousands of records, including account books, seed-trial records, office files, seed catalogs and other items relating to Burpee & Co. And its competitors. By 1915 Burpee was the largest mail-order seed company in the world. The collections spans a century, from the 187os to the 1970s.
Education, Public Programs and Exhibitions$475m
The National Museum of the American Indian announced in August an international competition to select a designer for the National Native American Veterans Memorial. The competition was open to all, and a jury of Native and non-Native artists, designers, scholars and veterans will chose a winner to design the memorial, which was commissioned by Congress and is slated to open in 2020. The National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrated the first anniversary of its opening on Sept. 24, 2017 with free public activities and performances, extended hours and a social media campaign. In its inaugural year, the museum welcomed nearly 3 million visitors, increased the number of items in its permanent collection to nearly 40,000 and hosted 46 public programs to help visitors understand historic and contemporary issues. The National Museum of African American History and Culture also opened "More Than a Picture," a collection of photographs of a range of American experiences and figures on May 5, 2017. The exhibition encourages visitors to explore the ways photographs reflect important moments in history and shape the understanding of African American experiences. It is the first exhibition to be featured in the museum's Special Exhibitions Gallery. In June, 2017 the National Museum of American History opened "The Nation We Build Together," a newly transformed space that invites audiences to explore the common values in America. It features four exhibitions, "American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith," "Many Voices, One Nation," "Religion in Early America" and "Within These Walls," as well as an interactive program space with hands-on activities, theater presentations and a spotlight on the Greensboro Lunch Counter. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden presented the world debut of "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" with the highest recorded spring visitation since the museum's opening in 1974. The exhibit allowed the visitor to step into an illusion of infinite space. As part of the Hirshhorn's commitment to accessibility, visitors with mobility constraints were able to use virtual reality headsets to experience the exhibition. The Smithsonian American Art Museum presented "American Visionary: John F. Kennedy's Life and Times," an exhibition of images that captured the scope of President John F. Kennedy's life. The opening of the exhibition was the premiere event in the yearlong Centennial Celebration of the former president.
The National Associate program is the Institution's largest and most basic membership program. The program provides members with Smithsonian magazine which is published 11 times a year. The print and online publication provides in-depth coverage of history, science, nature, the arts and world cultures. Smithsonian magazine also hosts the annual Ingenuity Awards, honoring the best and the brightest innovators who are making a difference in the world across a variety of fields. "Friends of the Smithsonian" is a higher level membership program for people interested in a deeper philanthropic connection to the Smithsonian. Friends receive Smithsonian magazine, plus they are invited to various events and are given the opportunity to learn about and support the Institution's exhibits and research. The Smithsonian Associates offers unparalleled access to the Smithsonian's world of knowledge through innovative and engaging programming that promotes learning, enrichment and creativity for people of all ages. The largest museum-based educational program in the world, Smithsonian Associates annually offers more than 750 seminars, performances lectures, studio art classes and local and regional study tours. Performances at Discovery Theater and more than 90 educationally focused summer camps are among the programs that foster the joys of learning for young people and their families.