Miss Piggy delights a visitor, Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, N.Y. Miss Piggy ©The Muppets Studio, LLC. Photo James Kegley

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

$6.1 Million raised

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Engaging Communities Across the Nation

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) brings the Smithsonian to audiences across America. A leader in developing traveling exhibitions, SITES has presented more than 1,500 exhibitions since its founding in 1951, fulfilling an important part of the Smithsonian’s mission for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

In any given year, 40 exhibitions are on view simultaneously and up to a dozen are in development. More than 4.5 million people engage with SITES in more than 140 towns and cities annually. Exhibitions can be found at museums, historical societies, libraries, community centers and schools, in major cities, midsized towns and rural communities.

Advisory Board member Brenda Gaines, who also is a member and former Vice-Chair of the Smithsonian National Board, gave SITES $100,000 to hire its first community outreach specialist. This expert has worked with museums hosting SITES exhibitions to improve local marketing and impact.

Ford Motor Company Fund sponsored Men of Change, a national touring exhibition that will combat stereotypes by highlighting African American men who are change agents in improving America at the local and national levels.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
Leadership Message

Leadership Message

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) is the institution’s proud ambassador. Our traveling and virtual exhibitions bring knowledge and discovery to people across America and beyond, stimulating local and national conversations on a wide range of topics, expected and unexpected. An exhibition from SITES has the power to change institutions, communities — and lives.

SITES was founded in 1952 by an Act of Congress that authorized us to share our vast cultural resources. Today, we are one of the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive traveling exhibition services.

Our current offerings reflect a wide range of Smithsonian interests, with exhibitions that explore and interpret history, art, science and our cultural heritage.

We partner with many kinds of host venues, including museums, galleries, cultural centers, libraries, universities, community centers and zoos.

Every year, some five million people visit nearly 50 SITES exhibitions, which travel to more than 450 venues in all 50 states. Our award-winning print, web and digital resources, including mobile apps, extend our reach far beyond visits to exhibitions. Your gift to SITES will allow us to meet the changing needs and expectations of growing and diverse audiences. With your help, we will create more opportunities for thought-provoking educational programs, public engagement and celebration in communities large and small.

Thank you.

  • Myriam Springuel
    Interim Director Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
Campaign Case

The Smithsonian at Your Doorstep

Access to Education
SITES develops exhibitions featuring the research, collections and resources from our museums and research centers. Whether tapping into the expertise of Smithsonian scientists exploring the far reaches of space or sharing the history and contributions of Asian Pacific Americans, SITES brings the Smithsonian to cities across the country.

By investing in the Smithsonian Campaign, you will enable SITES to provide exhibitions, curatorial and registrar information, education and programming resources and publications to support a broader Smithsonian presence in host communities.

Spaces for Education
SITES creates vibrant and relevant exhibitions, reflecting Smithsonian priorities for a national and international audience. To enrich our offerings and broaden our reach, SITES collaborates with hundreds of partners, including state humanities councils, museums and private collections outside the Smithsonian, as well as publishing and educational resource companies.

Gifts to the campaign will expand SITES’ role as the Smithsonian’s ambassador for traveling and virtual exhibitions.

Leaders in Education
SITES brings the Smithsonian to audiences in their local museums, libraries, zoos, aquariums, community centers and schools, beyond Washington, D.C. Our staff are creative and inventive storytellers. We are experts in mounting traditional museum exhibitions, as well as virtual exhibitions online, poster series for school classrooms, mobile apps and even exhibitions presented in trucks and other non-traditional venues.

To remain innovative and vibrant, we also seek to endow the directorship for SITES. This endowment will provide us with the resources to attract talented leaders for years to come.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

is raising $8.5 million of the Smithsonian Campaign’s overall $1.5 billion goal. 

Campaign Priorities

Access to Education

$4.5 Million

We seek $4.5 million to develop dynamic exhibitions that translate new discoveries into accessible traveling programs. A gift of $250,000 will help bring collections, scholarly resources and exhibitions to students, teachers and life-long learning communities around the globe.

Spaces for Education

$4 Million

We seek $4 million to forge new connections between the Smithsonian and host communities. An investment of $2 million will enable the Smithsonian to tour Museum on Main Street, a SITES exhibition program in collaboration with state humanities councils, to small towns in America. A gift of $2 million will provide mini-grants to underserved communities.

Leaders in Education

$5 Million

In addition to our goal, we seek $5 million for endowed leadership positions. A gift of $25,000 supports an intern and $5 million endows the directorship.

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

A visitor views American Letterpress, the Art of Hatch Show Print



Access for All

Access for All

Every year, some five million people experience Smithsonian collections and research through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). A campaign gift from Brenda Gaines, a vice chair of the Smithsonian National Board, will help smaller museums, libraries, schools and community centers afford the cost of hosting SITES exhibitions. “The Smithsonian is a world-class organization and continues to make significant contributions to the preservation of history, culture and environmental and scientific research. However, only a fraction of all people have the opportunity to experience the Smithsonian first-hand. I would like to help SITES provide access to people of all ages around the country.” Gaines’ gift also provides funds for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture because, she says, “The contributions, the history and the stories of African Americans should be heard by people in this country and around the world.”

Ford Motor Company Fund support helps share Latino contributions with the nation. Courtesy Museo de Las Américas



Ford Motor Company Fund

Taking Latino Heritage On The Road

The very names of Latin music genres suggest an irresistible, unmistakable rhythm. Salsa. Mambo. Rumba. Cha-cha-chá. Through the decades, these distinctive musical styles have continually and profoundly influenced American popular music. Latino musicians helped shape many traditional genres of music in the United States, including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll and hip-hop. Ford Motor Company Fund has helped the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service bring multicultural exhibitions and programs like American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music to communities across America and supported community outreach, public events and continuing education at each stop on its national tour.“Ford Motor Company Fund is proud to support American Sabor as part of our long-standing commitment to Hispanic arts and culture. Visitors to the exhibition will experience the many contributions that Hispanic musicians have made to American music and the richness of Latino sounds," says Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.


Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Contact Us

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Campaign Officers

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Board

  • Valerie Anders, Chair
  • Brenda J. Gaines, Vice Chair
  • Nancy M. Hogan
  • Christine Jenkins
  • Betsy Lawer
  • Sarah Lawer
  • Ginger Lew
  • Gloria Rodriguez
  • James G. Vella
  • Stephen Willard
  • Gay F. Wray

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

Total Goal:
$6.1 Million


$6.1 Million Raised

As of November 30, 2017

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