Smithsonian: On the Road to Tomorrow

 

You’re inspired. You learn. You are different than the day before.

David Skorton Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
Session

Smithsonian: On the Road to Tomorrow

Setup

David Skorton became the 13th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on July 1, 2015. A board-certified cardiologist who previously served as president of Cornell University, Skorton entered the institution at a time of transition and renovation, with new museums like the National Museum of African American History and Culture slated to open soon and major overhauls on old favorites like the Castle and the National Air and Space Museum waiting on the near horizon. The Smithsonian is founded on what Skorton calls “the principle that education empowers a person, and therefore, a nation.” After a year on the job, he will discuss with David Rubenstein what lies ahead for the world’s largest museum and research complex.

The Smithsonian is mostly government funded, and it should stay that way
The Smithsonian is mostly government funded, and it should stay that way
Beyond just collecting and displaying, the Smithsonian is actively involved in research
How can the Smithsonian increase the diversity of its staff and visitors?
1.

The Smithsonian is mostly government funded, and it should stay that way

Jump to idea
21:19

Ever since an initial endowment by a private citizen in 1835 created what became the Smithsonian Institution, the financial and administrative stewardship of the Smithsonian has rested with Congress. According to David Skorton, the current Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, that’s a model that’s both worthwhile and practical. It creates a cycle wherein private donors who add to Congress’ funding are reassured by government financial backing, who in turn signal to Congress that the Smithsonian is an entity genuinely valued by the public.

Approximately 70% of funds that the Smithsonian needs for day-to-day operations, research, and long-term maintenance comes from the federal government. The other 30% comes from private donors and ticket sales, and retail. Other projects require a different mix of funding — the National Museum of African American History and Culture $540 million dollar price tag was split close to evenly between the federal government and a private donation campaign.
2.

Beyond just collecting and displaying, the Smithsonian is actively involved in research

Jump to idea
27:50

James Smithson, the founding donor of the Smithsonian Institution, believed in creating an institution for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” The Smithsonian takes that mission seriously to this day. Listen to David Skorton talk about why he and his colleagues think their involvement in research is invaluable:

27425717804 7952564f59 O
Why the Smithsonian's research is invaluable

3.

How can the Smithsonian increase the diversity of its staff and visitors?

Jump to idea
46:12

While the Smithsonian has made a concerted effort to diversify both who comes to work at the Smithsonian and who comes to visit, Skorton says there’s still work to be done. Listen to how he responds to an audience question about diversity at the Smithsonian:

27425682414 E7b0d40447 O
How can the Smithsonian increase the diversity of its staff and visitors?

Learn More

Additional Information

Explore More

USA

636 ideas
Sorry, we couldn't find any results
Clear filters
Smithsonian: On the Road to Tomorrow

Thank you for signing up!

Please provide a valid email address.

Please provide a valid email address.
Newsletter
Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter
for the latest festival updates.