"Increase and diffusion of knowlege" is the mission set forth by James Smithson. The Smithsonian endeavors to shape the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.
$526m annual program spend • Research, public programs and exhibitions are based on these collections, which additionally include more than 29 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. For the first time in nine years, primate staff at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute celebrated the birth of a male western lowland gorilla. The parents received a recommendation to breed from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP). Native to Africa, western lowland gorillas live are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to disease and poaching. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and its partners were the first to determine how conservationists can use cryopreserved sperm to rear coral in much higher numbers for large-scale restorations efforts. The study examined techniques for conserving the Acropora group of coral, one of the most widespread and threatened groups of coral. The National Portrait Gallery added commissioned portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to its permanent collection. At the end of each presidency, the museum commissions one official portrait for each of the President and the First Lady. These portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald were the first to be painted by African American artists. The former President and first lady, together with the two artists, unveiled the portraits at a ceremony in February 2018. The portraits have attracted great attention, and the National Portrait Gallery had a record breaking 2.3 million visits in 2018, about a million more than the previous year. The National Museum of American History added to its political history collection items from the 2007 ceremony swearing in Nancy Pelosi as the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
$478m annual program spend • The exhibition asserts that such images and stories are a powerful way to understand a country forever fascinated, conflicted and shaped by its relationship with American Indians. The Smithsonian American Art Museum presented "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" at its Renwick Gallery from March-September 2018. An annual gathering of more than 70,000 people, Burning Man is one of the most influential events in contemporary art at culture. This was the first major exhibition to present the large-scale, participatory work that is the hallmark of this annual gathering, exploring Burning Man's philosophies of radical self-expression, community participation, rejection of commodification and reverence for the handmade. In June 2018 the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden launched the Hirshhorn Eye, a Mobile in-gallery art guide that uses machine learning to deliver exclusive video content to any smartphone. With the Hirshhorn Eye, visitors can scan artworks in the museum to unlock artist interviews and insights, allowing museumgoers to connect with the art in new ways. The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened "Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture," in June 2018. The second exhibition to be featured in the museum's special exhibitions gallery, the exhibition uses the story of Oprah Winfrey and her 25-year daytime talk show as a lens to explore contemporary American History and Culture, especially issues of power, gender and the media.
Membership (SEE SCHEDULE O) MEMBERSHIP
$75.3m annual program spend • 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 an in-depth coverage of history, science, nature, the arts and world cultures. Smithsonian Magazine also hosts the annual ingenuity awards, honoring the best and 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 deep 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 exhibitions 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.