Mission: "increase and diffusion of knowledge" 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.
Programs: 4a research and collections (see schedule o)research and collections - the smithsonian collections of nearly 137 million objects (art, artifacts and scientific specimens) are the heart of the institution. Research, public programs and exhibitions are based on the collections as is much of our online material. Care of the collections involves the work of registrars, conservators, museum specialists, designers, curators and editors. About 126 million objects and specimens are part of the national museum of natural history collections and 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. Among the major scientific discoveries this year was the announcement that toxic algae caused the death of 6-9 million-year-old marine vertebrate skeletons found at a large fossil site in northern chile. Smithsonian and chilean paleontologists found four separate layers of skeletons indicating four distinct strandings over time. The ancient whale graveyard research solved a mystery about the mass death of whales that has intrigued scientists for centuries. In more fossil news, the smithsonian acquired a nearly-complete tyrannosaurus rex (t. -rex) fossil skeleton from montana that will become the centerpiece of the new dinosaur hall. The skeleton will be conserved and recorded using the latest 3-d technology. The most popular living animal at the smithsonian is baobao, the giant panda born at the national zoo, who made her public debut january 18, 2014.
4b education, public programs and exhibitions (see schedule o)education, public programs and exhibitions - the national museum of american history celebrated the 200th anniversary of the star spangled banner in june with concerts, exhibition tours, a naturalization ceremony, a national sing-along on flag day, june 14, and a smithsonian channel documentary, "a star-spangled story: battle for america. " at the sackler gallery, the first major exhibition devoted to american artist james mcneill whistler, "an american in london: whistler and the thames" opened in spring with 80 works from major museums in the united states and britain. The national museum of the american indian's exhibition, "nation to nation," presents the history of the united states and indian nations through their treaties and more than 125 historical objects from the museum's vast collection. The first original treaty to be exhibited (on loan from the national archives) was the 1794 treaty signed by president george washington and leaders of the six nations or iroquois confederacy. The smithsonian's asian-pacific american center presented its first exhibition, "beyond bollywood" focusing on the contributions of indian immigrants in the united states. The display included a dress worn by first lady michelle obama designed by indian american naeem khan. A traveling version of the exhibition also began circulating this year.
4c membership (see schedule o)membership - the national associate program is our 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 in-depth coverage of history, science, nature, the arts, and world cultures. "smithsonian" magazine also hosts the annual ingenuity awards, honoring the best and the brightest innovators who are making a difference in the world in a variety of fields. "friends of the smithsonian" is a higher level membership program for people interested in a deeper 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 through donations to the institution's exhibits 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, the 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 80 educationally focused summer camps are among the programs that foster the joys of learning for young people and their families. In fy 2014, notable guests included justice sonia sotomayor, general colin powell, jazz legend quincy jones, filmmaker ken burns, and author bill nye.