Virtual Smithsonian

Building upon its core assets and new digital technologies, the Smithsonian has the potential, and the imperative, to reach a much larger audience than the limited number of people who will ever visit its museums in Washington, D.C. and New York. The Institution aims to reach one billion people worldwide by following a “digital first” strategy and new "open access" policy for Smithsonian collections, research, and education resources. We will measure success by the level of online engagement with our numerous websites, social media outlets, and other digital platforms. 

Open Access Website Visitors Social Media Engagement

counting machine patent model.

Smithsonian Open Access allows anyone to download, share, and reuse over three million 2D and 3D digital items from the Smithsonian’s collections. These assets may be used for any purpose without causing or contributing to copyright infringement. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian's 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, gardens, and the National Zoo. While not all of the Smithsonian's collections can be open access, all collection media online are available for personal and educational use (see Terms of Use).  Total image views and downloads of a variety of media types (images, audio and video files, other online media types) are shown here, both open access and restricted.

206M Website Visitors Fiscal Year 2021
81 Website Satisfaction Score (Average) as of September 2021
Image of Smithsonian website

The number of visitors to the Smithsonian's approximately 170 public websites is an indicator of our online presence and access to our digital resources. The Smithsonian website "satisfaction score" is a combination of responses to randomly-posted surveys of people using SI websites. The scores are benchmarked against an index of website satisfaction scores for over 125 government agencies, non-profit, and educational organizations.

302.7M YouTube Views Fiscal Year 2021
19.0M Facebook/Twitter/Instagram Followers Cumulative Total thru Fiscal Year 2021
Man taking selfie at Wonder exhibit, Renwick Gallery

The number of “followers” on social media platforms is an indicator of audience engagement, and the Smithsonian has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms.

Smithsonian Organization and Audience Research/OCIO