About Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution has many hats, from the one worn by Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies, to the one worn by Abraham Lincoln the night he was assassinated. One of the world's leading cultural institutions, the Smithsonian houses more than 137 million objects in 19 museums and galleries, most of which are on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Some 30 million people every year view the Smithsonian's exhibits on art, music, TV and film, science, history, and other subjects. Admission to all but one of the Smithsonian's facilities is free; only the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York charges admission.

Geographic Reach

The Smithsonian Institution is located in Washington DC. The world's largest museum and research complex averages about 30 million visitors per year.


A board of regents that includes the vice president and the chief justice of the US, six members of Congress, and nine private citizens leads the institution. The Smithsonian's exhibits display items such as the Declaration of Independence, the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, and the Wright brothers' first airplane. Along with its museums and galleries, the Smithsonian also operates the National Zoo and nine research facilities, and publishes the Smithsonian monthly magazine.

Financial Performance

The Smithsonian receives about 80% of its funding from the federal government. The Institution claimed about $1.15 billion in revenue for fiscal 2011, an increase of roughly 1% compared to the nearly $1.14 billion it reported for fiscal 2010.


Recent initiatives at the Institution include the renovation of the Arts and Industries building, and plans to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015. The Smithsonian expects to begin construction of the $500 million building in 2012. In addition, a campaign is in the works to establish a Smithsonian American Latino Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. A non-profit organization has emerged in support of passing federal legislation to establish the national museum.

These efforts represent the institution's aim to expand the Smithsonian's global relevance in the 21st century. As part of this strategy, in 2010 it released a five-year strategic plan that focuses on four priorities, or "grand challenges" as they are called in the report. They are: Unlocking the mysteries on the universe; Understanding and sustaining a biodiverse planet; Valuing world cultures; and Understanding the American experience.

- Show Less + Show Full Description

Smithsonian Institution

1000 Jefferson Dr Sw
Washington, DC 20560-0009
Phone: 1 (202) 633-1000
Fax: 1 (202) 786-2515


  • Employer Type: Private Non Profit
  • Secretary: G. Wayne Clough
  • Chairman: France A. Córdova
  • Vice Chairman: John W. McCarter

Major Office Locations

  • Washington, DC

Career Update Newsletter

Tips and tools to help you manage your ideal career.