1. How much does a program cost?
Programs are tailored to the interests of the hosting community and can range from a single presentation to a multiple day, multiple speaker series of events. Costs vary depending on the format, size, length, and complexity of the program and can range from approximately $3,000 to $50,000.
2. What does the cost cover?
This all-inclusive fee includes speaker honorarium, per diem, travel expenses, and program coordination.
3. Does the Smithsonian Institution provide free or discounted Voices of Discovery programs to at-risk or low-income communities?
Unfortunately, the Institution is not able to provide this service as federal funds are not available to this self-supporting program. We suggest researching grant opportunities, finding private corporations to sponsor events, or working with philanthropic organizations to obtain funding.
4. Do the speakers come to my community?
Yes! Depending on the scope of the program, speakers visit one to several venues in a community-schools, community centers, museums, public libraries, civic organizations, and more.
5. Where do the programs take place?
Programs occur in a variety of venues---a school classroom, museum gallery, public library space, community center auditorium, or a civic organization’s conference room are just a few possibilities.
6. Can I request/select the speaker?
If you have a specific request, we will do our best to honor it. Speakers are generally selected by the specific topics chosen, their expertise in these subjects, and their ability to engage the participating audience(s).
7. What topics are available?
Just about any topic covered in the Smithsonian Institution's museums, collections, and research in art, culture, history (primarily American history), and Earth and space science is available.
8. How long are the programs?
Programs vary and are custom-designed to a community’s requests. For example, a program might feature one Smithsonian expert for a single presentation on a given day or multiple experts giving presentations each day over several days. Working with a Smithsonian Program Coordinator, you determine the breadth of the program that best meets your community’s goals.
9. How many times does a scholar present each day?
Each scholar presents a maximum of three times per day. Sessions usually last 40 to 90 minutes depending on the topic, type of event, and schedule.
10. Who designs the programs? How are they designed?
Smithsonian Program Coordinators consult with community representatives to determine topics, dates, and the number of experts that will best meet a community’s objectives. Planning may include a site visit by one of our coordinators to develop a successful program that supports these goals, reflects community interests, and directly involves the participating organizations. Scholars are then invited to participate, venues are selected, and a schedule is confirmed.
11. How long does it take to plan a program?
Six months notice prior to the start of a program is preferred. A program might be planned in as little as three months depending on the complexity of the program and the availability of scholars.
12. Who participates in the programs?
Public events are open to all ages. School visits are generally geared for students in grades 4 - 12.