A Message from Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III

The Smithsonian is an institution dedicated to the public good, and in these times, we take that mission more seriously than ever. Although most of our museums and research centers are temporarily closed, we remain hard at work—educating, inspiring and supporting Americans through this difficult period.

During the past few months, the country has grappled with dual pandemics—the first a pandemic of illness, the second a pandemic of racism. It is like no other moment in American history.

People everywhere are turning to the Smithsonian in record numbers for context and knowledge. By making the wonders of science, art, history and culture accessible to all, we help the public understand the complexities of our world and feel part of a shared human experience.

In response to the impact of COVID-19, the Smithsonian has developed a suite of digital learning offerings to reach parents, caregivers, students and lifelong learners at home. Our experts are leading webinars and exhibition tours online, and our scholars continue to inform critical conversations on everything from the origins of pandemics to the roots of our democracy.

In response to the protests against racial injustice, the Smithsonian is launching a major new initiative, "Race, Community and Our Shared Future," which will explore how Americans understand, experience and confront race, its impact on communities and how that impact is shaping the nation’s future. A series of virtual town hall conversations among leaders in civil rights, social justice and economic mobility–set to begin in coming months–will help drive meaningful change.

The Smithsonian was built to serve the nation, but we couldn’t do it without support from people like you. As a public-private partnership, we rely on philanthropy to deliver world-class programs and exhibitions, fund cutting-edge research and inspire the next generation to greater heights.

Many of you have reached out to ask how you can support our work at this time. Please consider making a donation to your favorite Smithsonian museum or research center. Your gift will help us reopen our museums and science centers to the public and bring the Smithsonian’s riches to every home in America.

Together, we can move the nation toward hope and healing.


Lonnie G. Bunch III

Secretary of the Smithsonian