Smithsonian-wide Records Disposition Schedule

The Smithsonian Institution Archives is responsible for advising Smithsonian offices on the proper retention and disposal of their records.  This records disposition schedule is intended to clarify the recordkeeping responsibilities of offices and to ensure that records are appropriately saved or destroyed. 

Guidance in this disposition schedule has been generalized to apply to all offices within the Smithsonian.  Disposition information has been grouped by records series (type of record). Records series titles may not reflect the name used by an individual office to identify a set of files. For questions about the applicability of a records series to an office's records, contact the Archives and Information Management Team.

Browse records series that are common to a job function:

  • Collections Management and Care - collections development, administration, preservation, or conservation
  • Education and Outreach - creation and conduct of educational programs or other public resources  
  • Exhibitions, Publications, and Productions - development of exhibitions, publications, or multi-media content
  • Information Technology - management of information systems or information technology policies or support
  • Public Affairs and Public Relations - marketing, media relations, or public communications
  • Research and Curatorial - performance or oversight of research or scholarly communications
  • Development and Business Operations (Coming Soon) - generation and oversight of revenue through donations, retail, or external funding
  • Facilities and Property Management, Safety, and Security (Coming Soon) - construction, maintenance, security, safety, or accessibility 
  • Human Resources (Coming Soon) - personnel actions, benefits, training, or equal employment 
  • Legal Management and Oversight (Coming Soon) - general counsel, governance, or museum management issues 
  • Policy and Financial Management (Coming Soon) - strategic planning, financial resource management, or policy development 

See a list of records series common to most offices (Coming Soon)

List of All Records Series [pdf]

Unit-specific records disposition schedules (Staff only)

Unit-specific schedules have been written for some offices.  They may still be used in conjunction with this Smithsonian-wide schedule.  For questions about disposition instructions, please consult with the Archives and Information Management Team.

Dispositions in both the Smithsonian-wide and unit-specific schedules take into consideration the administrative, legal, fiscal, historical, and research value of the records. The Office of General Counsel and other central administrative offices have been consulted when necessary.