The Smithsonian Institution is a national museum in the United States. The Smithsonian occupies a number of buildings on the Mall and in other parts of Washington, D.C. It also has centers elsewhere.

The Smithsonian conducts scientific research and explorations; has museum, zoological, and art gallery exhibits; and publishes papers and reports of its activities. Through numerous programs, it encourages the use of its resources by schools of all levels. It provides assistance to museums throughout the nation and the world.

The Smithsonian is governed by a Board of Regents that includes the Vice President and the Chief Justice of the United States. The board elects a secretary as the executive officer and director of activities. Several bureaus are governed by independent boards of trustees. Memberships in the Smithsonian Institution are offered to the public. Members receive Smithsonian, a monthly magazine devoted to history, science, and the arts.