Virtual Smithsonian

Using digital technologies, the Smithsonian can reach a much larger audience than the limited number of people who will ever visit its museums, archives, libraries, and other facilities in person. The Institution aims to reach one billion people worldwide with a “digital first” strategy and an "open access" policy for its collections, research, and education resources. 

Website Visitors Open Access Social Media Engagement

Image of Smithsonian website

Two important measures of the Smithsonian’s online impact are the number of visitors to its approximately 170 public websites, and visitors' satisfaction with their online experience. The Smithsonian measures the latter with randomly-posted surveys of its website visitors. The same survey questionnaire is used by over 125 government agencies, non-profits, and educational organizations, allowing the Smithsonian to benchmark its performance against peer organizations

Man taking selfie at Wonder exhibit, Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian's social media accounts bring the breadth of the Institution to the world through the lenses of art, history, and science. Smithsonian media managers give digital audiences the opportunity to explore the vast resources of the Institution, with Smithsonian educators, curators, and researchers serving as interpretive guides. The central Smithsonian social media presence and the Institution’s individual museums, research centers, and education programs maintain hundreds of official social media accounts on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, most of which are linked to the Smithsonian's social media management system.

ODT Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research/OCIO