Here’s what you need to know about the Smithsonian Learning Lab

In a time of online classes and remote learning, students, teachers and parents can access millions of digital resources through the institute.

little girl with silver headphones and book online learning school with laptop
© Mariakray /

Ironically, the National Museum of Natural History currently has an exhibit on display titled Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World. Like thousands of museums and public spaces across the globe, all Smithsonian locations have shuttered their doors due to the newest global outbreak in 2020, COVID-19. 

Since you and your family can’t tour the museum’s 4,250-square-foot exhibition (where your kids could have pretended to be epidemiologists, veterinarians and public health workers during these unprecedented times), you might be wondering how you can still interact with the breadth of information and knowledge that is housed within the Smithsonian Institution.  

Enter the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Teachers, students and families are staying engaged with active learning as schools across the nation are closed, and the Smithsonian Distance Learning program gives teachers, parents/guardians and students access to millions of digital resources used by the Smithsonian, including museums, research centers, libraries, archives and more.  

Find more than one million images, texts and recordings, with new objects digitized every six seconds by the Smithsonian Institute, that will help you or your child learn something new nearly every day. There are resources for English/language arts classes and history/social studies classes, and nearly everything in between. 

Hopefully, we’ll soon be able to get back to touring those Smithsonian exhibits in person. 

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