Join the Smithsonian Council for American History

We invite you to join others who share your love of American History through membership in the Smithsonian Council for American History—our most distinguished group of contributors.

Council members receive an array of exclusive membership benefits in appreciation of their generosity. JOIN THE COUNCIL TODAY!

Council Helps Close the Gap

Most people do not realize that donations from individuals like you enable the Museum to share its collections and programs with over five million visitors each year.  Support from the Council is vital to sustaining our acclaimed program of exhibitions, performances, and family programs— free-of-charge, 364 days a year!

The Smithsonian Council of American History helps to fund the work of the Museum from the preservation of fragile treasures, to world-class exhibitions and programs.


Join the Council


Membership Benefits

By joining the Smithsonian Council for American History, you receive special "insider" access to the Museum, invitations to behind-the-scenes tours led by experts, opening receptions. . . and much, much more.

Collectors of American History: $1,000

  • Invitation to exhibition opening events and other special programs
  • Reserved seating at select public events
  • Acknowledgement in the Museum's e-newsletter upon joining the Council and again with each annual renewal

Preservers of American History: $2,500

  • All Collector benefits, plus:
  • Annual invitation for you and a guest to an exclusive cocktail party where you will meet the Director and other Council members and engage with the Museum's vast collections
  • Recognition in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution

Ambassadors of American History: $5,000

  • All Preserver benefits, plus:
  • Unique access to the Museum's collections through small-group tours with world-renowned curators and behind-the-scenes visits, offered twice per year

Guardians of American History: $10,000

  • All Ambassador benefits, plus:
  • Invitation to an annual breakfast with the Museum's Director, where you will learn about recent acquisitions, new exhibitions, and plans for the future

Stewards of American History: $25,000 and above

  • All of the above, plus:
  • Annual invitation for you and a guest to join the Museum's Advisory Board at an intimate dinner featuring a notable historian or other distinguished guest speaker
  • Visible recognition within the Museum for the duration of your membership


Special Member-Only Events

Among the many benefits of the Smithsonian Council for American History, members are regularly invited to events and programming with Museum leadership and expert curatorial staff. In addition to going behind the scenes, members have exclusive opportunities to learn about new initiatives and learn about Museum news first.

Previous events include:

Behind the Scenes of Puppetry in America
Guests were treated to a behind-the-scenes presentation of the history of Puppetry in America with curator Dwight Blocker Bowers.  In addition to learning about the history of puppetry, members enjoyed a private reception in the Presidential Suite with an opportunity to view many puppets up-close from the Museum’s extraordinary collection, including Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Howdy Doody and more!

Join the Conversation: An Education Center for American History
Members participated in a phone and webcast presentation to preview the Museum’s new Education Center, set to open in 2015 in our transformed west wing.   Judy Gradwohl, MacMillan Associate Director for Education and Public Program, led this discussion on the Education Center and national outreach with education. 

Discovery of an American Slave Ship
Curator Paul Johnston has identified the approximate location of the only known American slave ship that went down with all the enslaved Africans onboard.  He shared his discovery of this shipwreck and efforts to recover the ship and its history.  Guests enjoyed a reception and discussion with Paul, in addition to a hands-on program that shared Paul’s research through touchable props.