A wide range of adult studio arts classes provide opportunities to explore techniques and develop satisfying new skills.

Smithsonian Associates

$16.2 Million raised

Smithsonian Associates

Gateway to Smithsonian Knowledge

Smithsonian Associates, the nation’s largest museum-based education program, produces vibrant educational and cultural events inspired by the Smithsonian’s research, collections and exhibitions. Each year, more than 750 programs spark creativity and learning in people of all ages in the Washington, D.C., area and across the country.

Smithsonian Associates brings the institution to life through seminars, performances, lectures, studio arts classes and local and regional study tours, as well as many programs for children, including performances, museum sleepovers and summer day camps.

Through the Smithsonian Campaign, the Smithsonian Associates received a $2.5 million bequest from Linda Massaro to establish the Linda Powers Massaro Endowment, which will support the group’s educational mission for many years to come. Massaro has been a Smithsonian Associates member since 2008; she decided to support the program that has enriched her life in meaningful and satisfying ways.

In 2012, to build strong literacy and math skills in pre-K and kindergarten students in Washington, D.C., public schools, the Smithsonian Associates Discovery Theater developed Creative Tools for Teaching, a comprehensive series of Smithsonian-based performances and play-labs for the classroom, and professional development training for teachers.  With more than $250,000 from the Nora Roberts Foundation, this bilingual program empowers people through literacy and encourages children to reach their full potential.

Smithsonian Associates
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

Millions of people visit Smithsonian museums every year and each visitor’s experience is unique. However, once the visit ends, questions often surface. A frequent one is “How can I learn more?” The Smithsonian Associates, the largest museum-based educational program in the world, has offered the answers for a half-century. Through programming that sparks learning, enrichment and discovery for people of all ages, we provide a direct link to the Smithsonian’s world of knowledge.

More than 750 seminars, performances, lectures, studio art classes and local and regional study tours reach adults in the Washington, D.C., area annually. A season of performances at Discovery Theater, museum sleepovers and educationally focused summer camps foster the joys of learning for young people — and offer them a gateway to the Smithsonian’s rich array of museums and resources.

Teachers and students across the country make the Smithsonian part of their classrooms through the Smithsonian Associates’ extensive National Education Outreach program, which brings Smithsonian-designed content and experts to a wide range of partnering museums and other community sites. In partnership with George Mason University, a Master of Arts degree program in the history of decorative arts provides training for the next generation of curators, design specialists and researchers.

The Smithsonian Associates’ work is powered by the belief that to attract and excite audiences — and nurture new ones — museum-based learning must be real and relevant. By providing innovative ways to discover new ideas, information and creativity, the Associates transforms the Smithsonian into a partner as well as a resource.

Thank you.

  • Frederica R. Adelman
    Director, The Smithsonian Associates
Smithsonian Associates
Campaign Case

Creating Your Smithsonian

Smithsonian Associates programs connect with participants on a deeply personal level. Our audiences engage with pioneering scientists, authors, performers, social innovators, sports personalities and leaders in politics.

Our performances introduce children to the music and dance of countries half a world away. Creativity blossoms as a weekend artist works in a Smithsonian studio, studying with a professional.

Gifts to the campaign will help the Smithsonian Associates provide innovative lecture series, family programming, studio arts classes, study tours and performances for audiences in the greater Washington, D.C., area, as well as educational opportunities for students throughout America.

The Smithsonian Associates National Education Outreach designs and conducts community programs across the country by bringing teams of the institution’s researchers, historians, curators, educators and other museum professionals to share their expertise with students, teachers and the public.

From abstract art to environmental studies, the Smithsonian Scholars in the Schools program enriches lesson plans — and ignites the desire among teachers and students to reach beyond the classroom.

Through investments in the campaign, the Associates will bring the Smithsonian’s resources to more communities, by presenting regional and digital national programs tailored to local themes.

In 2012, Discovery Theater launched Tools of Discovery in partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools. The program trains pre-K and kindergarten teachers in theatrically based play techniques to support the system’s new Tools of the Mind curriculum. Teachers use creative play to help students from economically disadvantaged areas develop critical pre-literacy skills.

Funding from the Smithsonian Campaign will underwrite the training of actor-educators who provide instruction in Tools of Discovery techniques for teachers, as well as provide support for expansion
of the program. 

Smithsonian Associates

Smithsonian Associates

is raising $8 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal. 

Campaign Priorities

Access to Education

$3 Million

The Smithsonian Associates seeks a total of $3 million to enrich educational programming. An investment of $1.5 million endows an annual lecture series in art, science and history. A gift of $750,000 will enable the Associates to record and transmit select programs digitally to audiences across the nation. A gift of $750,000 supports family-focused programming, including summer camps and educational museum sleepovers.

Spaces for Education

$4 Million

The Smithsonian Associates seeks a total of $4 million for educational spaces and technologies. A gift of $2 million expands Discovery Theater and supports performances presented for young people and their families. An investment of $2 million revitalizes the lecture hall in the S. Dillon Ripley Center.

Leaders in Education

$1 Million

The Smithsonian Associates seeks a total of $1 million to endow educators’ professional development programs. This will enhance and expand national teachers’ workshops and Smithsonian collaborations with schools in the Washington, D.C., area.

Smithsonian Associates

Ken Zemrowski and Susan MacKeen at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Photo Mark Avino 



Zemrowski and McKeen

Philanthropic Relationship Honored at the Bay Started Long Ago

Susan MacKeen and Ken Zemrowski launched their wedding reception from the dock of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center on the Richard Lee boat in 2012, toasting their relationship together and with the institution. The couple had spent time volunteering at the Chesapeake Bay research center before the reception, but their relationship with the Smithsonian had started a long time prior to that. Zemrowski, a member of the Smithsonian Legacy Society, has provided for the Smithsonian through his estate plan and established a charitable gift annuity. His first date with MacKeen was attending the Smithsonian Annual Weekend in 2010. Both have been members of Smithsonian Associates, Friends of the National Zoo, the National Air and Space Society and the James Smithson Society. Through these associations, they have met conservation scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and toured behind-the-scenes at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. “I like museums. I also like knowledge. I resonate with ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge,’ the Smithsonian’s mission. It is an important mission. The Smithsonian is, after all, not just the bricks and mortar on the National Mall,” says Zemrowski. 

Smithsonian Associates

Contact Us

Smithsonian Associates Campaign Officers

Smithsonian Associates

Total Goal:
$16.2 Million


$16.2 Million Raised

As of November 30, 2017

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