Smithsonian Experiences Return to the National Outreach homepage


1. How much does a program cost?

Smithsonian Experiences is tailored to the interests and objectives of the sponsoring group and can range from a single presentation to a multiple-day, multiple-speaker series of events.  Costs vary depending on the format, size, length, and complexity of the program and can range from approximately $3,000 to $75,000.

2. What does the cost cover?

This all-inclusive fee includes speaker honorarium, participant materials, security costs, audio-visual assistance, and program coordination.

3. How many people can participate?

There is no set minimum or maximum group size.  Smithsonian Program Coordinators will work with you to design an event that can accommodate one visitor to several hundred participants.

4. Who participates in the programs?

Smithsonian Experiences is perfect for a variety of audiences and occasions.  Past programs have been designed for conference groups, corporate “think outside the box” workshops, university alumni reunions, employee reward and incentive packages, relationship building experiences at meetings, as a special “thank you” to donors, school tours, and others.  Smithsonian Experiences offers unique and memorable events for any group.

5. Do we really go behind the scenes of the museums?

Programs may include visits to non-public areas of the Institution depending on group size. Facilities may limit access to small groups only.  Large groups may be divided with participants rotating through these areas to accommodate everyone.  

6. Can we have programs when the museums are closed to the public or on weekends?

Yes, if experts, security staff, meeting space, and collections are available, after-hours and weekend programs are possible.

7. What topics are available?

Just about any topic covered in the Smithsonian Institution's museums and research in art, history (primarily American history), and earth and space science is available.

8. How long are the programs?

Programs are custom-designed in response to a group’s requests.  The program may feature one Smithsonian expert for one presentation for one hour or multiple experts guiding tours and holding workshops over several days.  Working with a Smithsonian Program Coordinator, you determine the breadth of the program that best meets your organization ’s goals.

9. Can a program be repeated for others from our organization?

Repeating a program may be possible depending on the availability of experts, scheduling of meeting spaces, and accessibility to specific collections within the Institution.  Requesting duplicate programs with at least 6 months advance notice increases the chance of availability and the opportunity to repeat a program.

10. Can speakers come to us instead of our group traveling to the Smithsonian?

Yes, programs can be arranged in which Smithsonian scholars conduct presentations, hold workshops, and visit with groups at their location.

11. Can we bring our group’s own speakers?

A program may be designed to incorporate a group’s speakers, but the focus would remain the educational experience offered by the Smithsonian and highlight the treasures and staff of the Institution. 

12. We just need rental space for our own event, can you help us?

Please contact Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Special Events and Protocol at (202) 633-2020 to inquire about the availability and cost of rental spaces.

13. Can a meal or catering be included?

Yes, the Smithsonian Institution catering service offers a variety of menus and prices. Working with a Program Coordinator, your Smithsonian Experiences event can be arranged to include snacks or meals during your group’s visit.

14. Can we take pictures?

Frequently, photos are permitted.  However, please check with staff during events as some areas and objects of the Smithsonian are light-sensitive and photos are not permitted.  Please always ask before taking photos.

15. Who designs the programs?  How are they designed?

Smithsonian Program Coordinators consult with group representatives to determine topics, calendar dates, and type of event that will best meet a group’s objectives.  Scholars are then invited to participate and a schedule is confirmed.

16. How long does it take to plan a program?

Six months notice prior to the start of a program is preferred.  A program might be planned in as little as three months, depending on how complex the program is and availability of scholars.