About the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoo—shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.

The Institution was founded in 1846 with funds from the Englishman James Smithson (1765–1829)?according to his wishes “under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” We continue to honor this mission and invite you to join us in our quest.

Smithsonian at a Glance

19 Museums + 1 Zoo
28.5M Visits by Public

155M Museum?Objects
& Specimens
2.1M Library Volumes

160M?Website Visitors

15.1M?Social Media Followers

6,349 Employees
762 Research Fellows
7,345?On-Site Volunteers
11,889 Digital Volunteers

For more Smithsonian numbers visit the Smithsonian Metrics Dashboard.