Smithsonian Institution's Privacy Statement



Thank you for visiting the Smithsonian Institution network of Websites and reviewing our privacy policy. The Smithsonian Institution does not collect personal information about visitors to our Website unless you choose to provide that information to us. The Smithsonian will use that information to respond to your message and to help us get you the information you have requested.

This privacy policy applies to the online activities of the Smithsonian Institution, except for Smithsonian Enterprises websites (goSmithsonian, Smithsonian Magazine, Air & Space Magazine, Smithsonian Store, and Smithsonian Journeys). Consult those websites for the Smithsonian Enterprises privacy policy. For off-line activities, the Smithsonian Institution has prepared Privacy Impact Assessments for systems that collect, maintain, or disseminate information in identifiable form from or about members of the public. These documents can be found at: Smithsonian Institution Privacy Program Guidance documents can be found at


Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If you visit our Website, we automatically gather and store the following information about your visit so that we can track the use of our Website in order to make improvements. This information is stored and used in the aggregate only, and is not used to contact you personally:

  • The IP address from which you access our Website
  • The name of the domain from which you access the Internet (for example,, if you are connecting from an America Online account)
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access our Website
  • The date and time you access our site
  • The pages, files, documents and links that you visit
  • The Internet address of the website from which you linked to this Website


In addition to information collected automatically, we use cookies, which are small pieces of information sent to your browser by a website that you visit. The cookies do not collect personally identifiable information. Cookies are used to track usage patterns, traffic trends and customer behavior, as well as to record other information from the Website. When you register on the Website, cookies also allow us to save information so that you will not have to re-enter it the next time you visit. Many content adjustments and customer service improvements are made based on the data derived from cookies. Some Smithsonian websites use a third-party vendor, Google Analytics, to place cookies and analyze the information collected by cookies in order to make the Smithsonian website more interesting and useful to you. Information that we collect from cookies will not be used to create profiles of individual users and only will be used in aggregate form.

You may set your browser to refuse cookies from any website that you visit. If you so choose, you may still gain access to most of the Smithsonian’s Website, but you may not be able to conduct certain types of transactions (such as shopping) or take advantage of some of the interactive elements offered. You also may opt out of Google Analytics using the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on.


If You Send Us Personal Information

The Smithsonian’s Website will only collect personal information which you knowingly and voluntarily provide by, for example, sending emails, completing membership forms, registering for classes, events, or other programs, responding to surveys or ordering merchandise. If you provide us with personal information, we will normally respond to your inquiry, request or order. We may also contact you to provide information about Smithsonian activities, programs, membership and development opportunities, products and special events that may interest you. We will never share your name or information outside the Smithsonian unless you affirmatively authorize us to do so by opting-in.

When we send you such information by email, you will always have an immediate opportunity to decline further communication. Please use the contact specified in the email so that we can remove you from the list that contains your name. If you are uncertain about whom to contact, you may contact our webmaster at

The Smithsonian uses outside vendors to provide certain services on our behalf, such as companies who conduct customer satisfaction surveys on our behalf or who process credit card transactions for the Smithsonian. These third-party vendors will have access to the information needed to perform their functions, but may not use your information for any other purpose. Some Smithsonian units on occasion, rent or exchange select member name and address information with other well- established charitable, or cultural non-profit organizations. You will be notified of any such sharing and you will be provided an opportunity to opt-out of any such sharing. There may be sites within the Smithsonian’s network of Websites where you can opt-in to receive information from non-Smithsonian entities. If you opt-in, you may receive correspondence from these organizations on programs, products or services that might interest you. If you decide to opt-out of receiving any further correspondence from a non-Smithsonian entity, please correspond directly with that business or organization to be removed from their mailing list.

Please note that the Smithsonian may also provide your information to: (1) a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency if the Smithsonian becomes aware of a violation or potential violation of law or regulation; (2) a court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the Smithsonian is a party or in order to comply with a subpoena; (3) a member of the public in response to his or her request for Smithsonian records under Smithsonian Directive 807, available at; (4) the Department of Justice or in certain legal proceedings when the Smithsonian, an employee of the Smithsonian, or the United States is a party to litigation or has an interest in the litigation and the use of such records is deemed relevant and necessary to the litigation; (5) Smithsonian officials, including the Inspector General, as needed to perform official duties; (6) a Committee of Congress in response to a formal request; and (7) any other person or entity as required by law.



The Smithsonian is committed to ensuring that its IT systems, applications and information technology infrastructure are secured. The Smithsonian requires credit card processing be secured based on compliance to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. When you use your credit card for any purchase at the Smithsonian’s network of Web sites, that transaction is always encrypted when traveling over the Internet. Unauthorized access and/or unauthorized attempts to change information on this website are strictly prohibited and punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.



Within the Smithsonian’s Website there are links and widgets to non-Smithsonian websites. These sites operate independently of the Smithsonian and have their own privacy policies. When you link to third party websites, you leave our Website and no longer will be subject to our privacy and security policies. The Smithsonian is not responsible for the privacy or security practices nor the content of non-Smithsonian websites, and such links are not intended to be an endorsement of the non-Smithsonian website or its content.


The Smithsonian is a large organization with many people sharing responsibility for the content of our Website. Please help us respond to your comments and inquiries by sending them to the appropriate Smithsonian office. Consult our special Web page to help you determine where to send your inquiry at If you have questions about this Privacy Statement, please contact us via email at