What was the Smithsonian Campaign?

The Smithsonian Campaign — the largest in history for a cultural institution — is the first major campaign to encompass the whole of the Smithsonian institution. Through investments in people, places, programs and treasures, the Smithsonian Campaign ensures that we have the power to change and the permanence to endure. This campaign’s benefits will continue far beyond its conclusion and make a transformational impact on the Smithsonian’s financial stability. 

What was the campaign’s timeline?

The Smithsonian Campaign began in fiscal year 2011. Its public kickoff took place in October 2014. The campaign concluded on December 31, 2017.

What are the Smithsonian Campaign’s priorities?

The campaign focused on four areas to build a truly 21st-century Smithsonian:

  • Tell America’s Story, in all its diversity, history and possibility
  • Inspire Lifelong Learning in our nation’s classrooms, on the National Mall and online
  • Reach People Everywhere, through our programs, traveling exhibitions and online access
  • Spark Discovery of exploration and engagement


Why does the Smithsonian need to raise private funds? Doesn’t the federal government fund it?

Private philanthropy is essential to the Smithsonian’s ability to realize its vision and transform the institution in this generation. Only through generous contributions can the Smithsonian achieve the vision of its strategic plan, mount dynamic exhibitions, develop educational programs that excite learning and conduct and share vital research and scholarship. Federal appropriations provide the foundation of the Smithsonian’s operating budget and always will remain the core of its funding, for which the institution is deeply grateful to both Congress and the American people. Private support, though, ensures that the Smithsonian fulfills its potential and shares its learning and discovery with the nation, the world and the future.

What museums, programs and centers are included?

The Smithsonian Campaign encompasses every one of the Smithsonian’s museums, centers and programs.

Who are Smithsonian Campaign's leaders?

Campaign leadership is centered in the all-volunteer Campaign Steering Committee, co-chaired by Barbara Barrett, Sakurako Fisher, David Rubenstein and Alan Spoon. Its members represent all Smithsonian advisory boards. Ex-officio members are the Secretary of the Smithsonian, the Chair of the Board of Regents Advancement Committee and the Assistant Secretary for Advancement.


The Smithsonian Campaign’s Honorary Committee assembles a remarkable group of some of the most notable living Americans. These distinguished citizens represent the campaign and the Smithsonian. They help to raise the Smithsonian’s visibility, tell its story and share its aspirations for the future.



I am still interested in making a gift. How can I get in touch with the right person?

Every Smithsonian museum, center and program excels through private support. Dedicated, professional fundraising staff members are available to answer your questions, assist in making a gift, or help you with other Smithsonian matters. Call 202-633-4300 or email giving@si.edu to get started.

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