Our Mission

The Guardian
of our Nation’s

Our Mission: 
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research, and dynamic public outreach, we explore the infinite richness of American history. We help people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. 
The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. In all, the Smithsonian holds in trust 137 million objects, artworks, and specimens, sharing them with 30 million visitors per year and 188 million website visitors. 
The National Museum of American History preserves and protects an unparalleled collection of more than three million artifacts, including iconic treasures such as the Star-Spangled Banner, Alexander Graham Bell’s telephones, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat, Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet, and Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.” 

The Museum’s activities are made possible through a public-private partnership. The federal government provides baseline support for general operations, building maintenance, and security, but only through private philanthropy canthe Museum provide visitors with meaningful educational programs and enlightening exhibitions, free-of-charge. 

The job of mounting dynamic exhibitions such as American Democracy can only be accomplished with significant private support. 

The National Museum of American History