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About the Smithsonian Learning Lab

Smithsonian Learning Lab: 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, and more.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is a major rethinking of how the digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 9 major research centers, the National Zoo, and more, can be used together, for learning.

The Smithsonian Learning Lab is about discovery, creation, and sharing.

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access created the Smithsonian Learning Lab to inspire the discovery and creative use of its rich digital materials—more than a million images, recordings, and texts. It is easy to find something of interest because search results display pictures rather than lists. Whether you've found what you were looking for or just discovered something new, it's easy to personalize it. Add your own notes and tags, incorporate discussion questions, and save and share. The Learning Lab makes it simple.

By encouraging users to create and share personalized collections of Smithsonian assets and user-generated resources, the Learning Lab aspires to build a global community of learners who are passionate about adding to and bringing to light new knowledge, ideas, and insight.

The Learning Lab infuses real-world experiences into learning to build lasting knowledge and critical skills that take learners from simply finding resources to thoughtful selection, organization, and creation of new resources.

Why Use It?

Guided by our desire to create authentic, meaningful, and personalized learning experiences, the Learning Lab blends trusted resources and contemporary media for learners of all ages to:

  • make discoveries across disciplines
  • create new ideas
  • share their knowledge and creations with a global community of experts and peers
  • access vast collections in history, science, art, and culture
  • build lasting educational networks

At the Smithsonian, a new object is digitized every six seconds, ensuring the Learning Lab has something fresh to offer visitors each time they return.

The tools and resources offered within the platform simplify workflow, allowing users to create and share collections while sparking new ideas.

Educators are encouraged to share within communities of practice so peers may provide feedback, reuse, or adapt Smithsonian or personally created resources to meet their own needs.

Getting Started

Getting started using the Learning Lab is as simple as searching for something you are interested in at the search box in the upper left, or exploring our Getting Started Guide, or our Getting Started Guide for Teachers.

The Past... and the Future

The foundation of the Learning Lab was extensive research into how educators currently use online resources for instruction and professional development, and what they would like to see in the future. This work is ongoing, too. The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access will study patterns of use and feedback to see what it suggests for enhancing the Learning Lab.