ED FAQs

Frequently asked questions! Have one we didn't answer? Let us knowSILeducation@si.edu


  • Can I visit the Smithsonian Libraries?
    Yes! But probably not in the same way you visit your public library.  You can learn all about it on the visiting the libraries page.
  • I'm an educator, and I'm looking for new, interesting content to use in my lesson plans.  What does Smithsonian Libraries have for me?
    A bunch! Check out Unstacked, a growing online collection of rich and historic image-based artifacts from the Smithsonian Libraries. These high-quality, contextualized images are flexible enough to be incorporated into lesson plans across the P-12 range. Subjects range from Ancient Civilization to Activism, and feedback from student and teachers has prompted even more collections to be added ongoingly.  Unstacked offers its users access to tools for immersive education, on and off the screen.
  • What’s the difference between Learning Lab and Unstacked?
    Glad you asked. Learning Lab is a free, interactive platform containing millions of digital resources, and it represents the entire Smithsonian Institution’s digital collection.  Unstacked is hosted by Learning Lab, but it’s a little more specific: one part of Unstacked is a digital collection of image-based artifacts from the Smithsonian Libraries. The other part of Unstacked is Museum in a Box, which is a hands-on and tactile way to explore Smithsonian Libraries’ image collection.
  • How does Museum in a Box work?
    Museum in a Box brings Unstacked off the screen and into the hands of students, employing intuitive technology and familiar touchstones. The premise is a talking box that reads and interprets topical cards and 3D printed objects straight from the Learning Lab collections. Users can follow along on a screen or from the text on the back of the card, engaging the topic through multiple modes.Check out this video that shows kids using Museum in a Box at their school library. The tool was developed by a British EdTech startup of the same name. You can visit their site HERE.
  • Can my school or library get a copy of Museum in a Box to use?
    We’re working on it! We’ll keep you posted.
  • I want to use an awesome image I found on Unstacked. Can I do that?
    As long as it's in accordance with the Smithsonian Terms of Use! You can also find rights and reproductions information for most images on the Image Gallery FAQs, including a link to a request for for high resolution images.
  • What programs can I be part of with Smithsonian Libraries?
    You can apply to be a Chaptour Guide, which is a great way for teens of all volumes to get museum and library experience.   Or maybe you want to take part in our intensive middle school mystery events called Book Cases! There are lots of ways to be involved. You can find all of our programs here
  • Is the Smithsonian Libraries and the Smithsonian Institution part of the same thing?
    Sure are! The Smithsonian Libraries is a part of the Smithsonian Institution, and we contain books, manuscripts and artifacts about lots of topics including aerospace, anthropology, and art history to business history and botany, cultural history, design, philately, zoology, and much, much more.
  • How can I borrow material from the Libraries?
    For folks who don’t work at the Smithsonian, we have an inter-library loan service through your local public or school library. Check it out HERE.   
  • Who do I get in touch with to work at the Smithsonian Libraries?
    You can find info on jobs at the Office of Human Resources site.
  •  I would like to volunteer for the Libraries, whom should I contact?
    You’re the best. Volunteering is managed by the Smithsonian's Office of Visitor Services. Their site has more information about how to become a volunteer at any of the Smithsonian sites.
  • How can I get an internship of fellowship at the Smithsonian Libraries?
    You’re in the right place. Check our internships and fellowships page.
  • Can I get paid for being an intern or fellow at Smithsonian Libraries?
    Sometimes! Make sure to read the info on our internships and fellowships page to find out more.
  • How do I get in touch with you?
    Email's the best way:  SILeducation@si.edu