Our Shared Future: Smithsonian 2027

Our Purpose

The increase and diffusion of knowledge.

Our Shared Future Vision

We face many challenges as individuals, as a nation, and as a global community. Through our unparalleled collections and research capabilities, and the insight and creativity we foster through art, history, and culture, the Smithsonian strives to provide Americans and the world with the tools and information they need to forge Our Shared Future.

For over 175 years, the Smithsonian has provided not just context, but also hope as we confront weighty topics. While we are known as an institution that looks back to understand our history and learn from it, the Smithsonian also looks forward to the future. We aspire to lead communities that come together to confront our collective challenges and develop solutions that will benefit generations to come.

We will bring to bear our vast resources—our collections, our 175 years of research and data, our humanities and interdisciplinary expertise—in concert with the resources of our local, national, and international partners.

We will work collaboratively on complex topics, from climate change and biodiversity to exploration of the universe and enlarge the historical narrative around the topics that shape our nation. Together, we form a network of unparalleled breadth that is dedicated to learning, dialogue, and creative outcomes.

We will advance the formation of two new museums: the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum. These museums will help us tell a more complete story about who we are as a nation and give us the opportunity to be the model for the next generation of museums as we employ the latest technological advances around digital content and virtual delivery, blending tradition with cutting-edge innovation.

Finally, Our Shared Future also means being a more resilient and flexible Smithsonian, ensuring an inclusive, welcoming, and safe work environment in which everyone can bring their best to their work in service to the public.

Our Shared Future Plan

Smithsonian 2027: Our Shared Future, the Institution’s five-year Strategic Plan launching in the winter of 2022, builds on the foundation laid by our previous Strategic Plan and outlines the Smithsonian’s aspirations, priorities, and planned impact as we continue to transform to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Our content will reach people across the world, on topics relevant to their lives, through the lens of art, history, and science, with the Smithsonian serving as an interpretative guide.



To achieve these goals, and to generate expanded reach, intentional relevance, and planned impact, the Smithsonian must continue to internally build a collaborative, One Smithsonian culture, and externally foster partnerships across industries and disciplines. We recognize that only through this spirit of collaboration can we scale, innovate, and inspire at levels that can bring about real change.



Our Shared Future: Digital


Ensure every home and classroom has access to the Smithsonian’s digital content.

By 2026, the Smithsonian will bring the concept of a “virtual museum” to life by becoming a digitally empowered institution with expanded virtual reach. The purposeful connections we build will mean that every household, classroom, and community will have access to our shared knowledge and be able to use that to better our shared lives and futures. We will invite the people we serve on a lasting journey to explore, learn, and find meaning together.

Our goal is to have our content not only reach people around the globe, but also to serve as a valued, trusted tool that enriches their lives. Going forward, our digital transformation will build a digital ecosystem where the Smithsonian’s most valuable assets are accessible and can be deployed wherever, whenever, and however they are most needed. We also will deliver a connected, seamless experience focused on audience, informed by data, and driven by strategic goals. Finally, we will create impact by using innovative tools and platforms to form meaningful, lasting relationships with our audiences.



Our Shared Future: Nimble


Work together to build a nimble and effective Smithsonian.

The Smithsonian can only be at its best if it embraces innovation, promotes integrated and efficient administrative functions, and creates an environment where staff brings our best talents to the workplace. We have a dedicated, resilient, creative, and caring workforce who are focused on service to the public. Yet there remain many areas where the Smithsonian can do more to improve our operations and provide opportunities for staff to develop our skills.

Over the next five years, the Smithsonian will focus on increasing the nimbleness of the organization’s administrative functions, both those that are managed centrally and those that are embedded within the individual museums, research centers, and units. By building stronger connections within the Smithsonian, we will increase the efficiency of our processes and generate more effective and integrated solutions. Equally critical is the goal of fostering an environment for staff that promotes attributes such as safety, professional development, and individual accountability. We must achieve these objectives to ensure the Smithsonian remains an employer of choice for all staff.



Our Shared Future: Trusted Source


Be a trusted source that explores and grapples with what it means to be an American.

Being a trusted source is core to the “Our Shared Future” vision.  Based on the research that undergirds our efforts, especially our history and art scholarship, the Smithsonian, as the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, has a unique and critical role in finding common ground and creating hope among the American people. Whether it is exploring racial or social justice through the aperture of history, using art as a medium for expression and understanding, engaging communities in urban and rural areas alike, or understanding the science that underlies climate change, the Smithsonian has a responsibility to use its exhibitions, educational programming, and digital content in innovative ways to foster dialogue and understanding. This commitment runs through all Smithsonian efforts. Over the next five years, the Smithsonian will, through several key Institution-wide initiatives, further the national dialogue on a variety of complex topics.

For example, we will explore the impacts of racial identification and racism in the United States and globally by providing historical context, innovative activations, and different visions through art. We will use the Smithsonian’s diverse collections and expertise to amplify and disseminate an expansive and diverse historical record of the accomplishments of American women. And we will identify and collaborate with stakeholders to meet the needs of, and learn from, all the communities that we serve and whose collections we steward, including those who reside in rural and tribal communities in the United States. 



Our Shared Future: Science


Harness Smithsonian expertise to elevate science in the global discourse.

The Smithsonian includes a robust science and research complex, with thousands of experts and rich partnerships with academia and the private sector. In tandem with our vast resources in the areas of art, history, and culture, we will bring our science to a broader public audience. To accomplish this, we will integrate our research, collections, data sets, field stations, digital infrastructure, and communication platforms. We will work with communities to create sustainable and impactful solutions. And we will communicate what we learn to the public through our museums, facilities, and educational programs, showcasing the ways we lead, collaborate, and share—expanding our understanding of life on Earth and our place in the universe. 

Smithsonian scholars, researchers, and educators will generate global impact, pursue work on critical issues facing our oceans, and find ways to support environmental justice by meaningfully engaging a diversity of stakeholders in the development and implementation of environmental policy. We will continue our cutting-edge work in global health and animal-to-human virus transmission and our understanding of complex ecosystems. We will explore the tipping and turning points in the evolution of galaxies, solar systems, and planets, assessing the uniqueness of our place in the universe. Finally, we will inspire all generations to engage in scientific discovery; take advantage of science, technology, ingenuity, and culture; and contribute to a new era where people and nature can thrive.



Our Shared Future: Education


Build and enrich a national culture of learning by engaging with educational systems nationwide.

Education is at the core of the Smithsonian’s mission, “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today over 300 education professionals and 600 supporting volunteers work in more than 30 Smithsonian units to help learners build knowledge, foster inquiry, and cultivate creativity. Further, we have a large and diverse internship and fellowship ecosystem, which brings students from across the world to contribute to the Smithsonian’s mission. Through these programs, and the thought leaders they support, the Smithsonian strives to help the American people make sense of the complexities of the past and present, while we also imagine and help shape the future. Working with partners, collaborators, colleagues, and education leaders, the Smithsonian will build a national culture of learning to ensure that our audiences have the tools they need to understand and navigate the world around them. 

The Smithsonian has an ambitious goal to reach every classroom in America. To achieve this, we will strategically leverage the work that is already occurring in the Smithsonian and scale up our signature offerings. Using the collections found in our art, science, and history museums, we can reach each discipline taught in the classroom. We will also reach out externally, working with stakeholders at local and state levels to implement a comprehensive education strategy that will allow Smithsonian education programming, tools, and resources to achieve greater reach, greater relevance, and profound impact. This strategy will foster dialogue and generate shared goals between the Smithsonian and teachers, students, partners, and donors across the nation.