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About Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA)

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access logoWho We Are

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) uses all the Smithsonian offers to empower learners to explore their interests and collaborate with others to bring ideas to life. The organization creates models and methods that make the Smithsonian a Learning Laboratory for everyone.


  • Provides extensive digital access to Smithsonian collections, programs, and learning resources to inspire the transformation and sharing of knowledge for the public good.
  • Enables users to explore and expand their interests and create their own learning experiences.
  • Partners with other education minded organizations to spread promising practices to new areas to benefit more learners.
  • Measures the impact of its efforts through data collection, analysis, and transparent reporting, to consistently improve and provide better educational opportunities.
  • Is committed to sharing innovations through rigorous open access digital research and publication.

The Learning Lab is one of SCLDA's next generation of tools designed to make access to and the use of Smithsonian digital assets for learning easier and more effective. Through the Learning Lab and other projects, SCLDA is committed to advancing the use of the Smithsonian's digital assets in ways that shape the future of learning.

Guided by the Smithsonian's mission of the increase and diffusion of knowledge, SCLDA was established to re-imagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers, and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian's resources in the 21st century. Recognizing most will never visit Smithsonian museums, SCLDA set out to identify how it might best enrich education by making Smithsonian experts and collections accessible to everyone regardless of where they live.

The vision of SCLDA, a central office of the Smithsonian Institution, is to enable every learner to discover and use Smithsonian resources to achieve personal and societal goals. To achieve this objective, SCLDA spent three years conducting intensive research, surveying more than 7,000 educators, and organizing targeted focus groups. The Smithsonian Learning Lab resulted from this research.

Committed to our core values of equity, innovation, integrity, leadership, and excellence, SCLDA is honored and grateful for the generous financial support the Smithsonian Learning Lab has received from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Grable Foundation, Visual Resources Association Foundation, Lenovo, Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood, and Annenberg Learner.  Funding from the Smithsonian includes grants from the Smithsonian Women's Committee, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and the Smithsonian Latino Center, as well as Youth Access Grants administered by the Smithsonian Office for Education and Access. SCLDA will measure and record user activity and develop recommendations for revisions to the Learning Lab to consistently improve future teacher and student interactions with the platform.

Simply put, SCLDA makes the Smithsonian a Learning Lab for everyone.