Agency history, 1971-

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  • Bay, Ann Phillips 1940-
  • Ellis, Rex M. 1951-
  • Glaser, Jane R
  • Welsh, Peter C
  • Schmid, Frederick
  • LaMaster, Teresa K
  • Norby, Stephanie
  • Sims, James E
  • Smithsonian Institution Center for Museum Studies
  • Smithsonian Office of Education
  • Smithsonian Institution Office of Museum Programs
  • Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies
  • Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
  • Montgomery College


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Smithsonian Year, 1999
  • E-mail from Nancy Fuller, SCEMS, to James Steed, Smithsonian Archives, February 4, 2002
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
  • Smithsonian Institution, Newsdesk, Media Fact Sheet, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digitial Access,, accessed October 1, 2021.
  • Smithsonian Institution, email announcement, "Announcing the New Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology," September 13, 2021.
  • Wonderful Women Wednesday: Stephanie Norby, by Emily Niekrasz, December 8, 2021, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives,, accessed February 1, 2023
  • Darren Milligan biography, Smithsonian Newsdesk,, accessed February 1, 2023
  • The Office of Museum Programs, a predecessor of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies (SCEMS), began operations in 1971. About 1995 the Office was renamed as the Center for Museum Studies, and in 1999 a merger of the Center for Museum Studies and the Smithsonian Office of Education produced SCEMS. SCEMS was renamed the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA) in 2013 and the renamed again to the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology (OET) in June 2021. The Office interprets the collective knowledge of the Smithsonian and serves as a gateway to the Institution's education resources. Through research, publishing, and staff development programs for the education and museum communities, the center promotes the understanding and use of museums.
  • The OET uses museum resources to empower learners to explore their interests, to collaborate with others, and to reach their personal and educational goals. It develops models and methods for digital learning through extensive research and evaluation initiatives, provides tools for creative personal use of Smithsonian digital resources and works with Smithsonian museums and research centers to provide greater access to their extensive collections, programs and learning resources.
  • Since its inception as the Office of Museum Programs, the OET makes the Smithsonian accessible and useful for individual learning, offering a wide range of services, including teacher professional development, distance education programs, instructional materials and more. The OET works directly with educators and audiences in the Washington, D.C., area through its heritage programming, community literacy projects, digital arts camps for teenagers with cognitive disabilities and the Montgomery College-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships program, which provides professional development to community college teachers. The center extends the results of this work, among other programs, to learners throughout the nation through digital-media initiatives, sharing what they have learned and developed for others to use and adapt.
  • The OET's digital-education project, the Smithsonian Learning Lab, is designed to reimagine and ultimately reinvent the way students, teachers and lifelong learners interact with and use the Smithsonian's resources. Launched in beta testing in October 2015, the Learning Lab is an engaging digital destination that enables everyone to discover Smithsonian resources, create customized collections and educational experiences, and share their work with others worldwide.
  • Peter C. Welsh was Director in 1971, followed by Frederick Schmid, 1971-1973. Jane R. Glaser served, 1975-1989; followed by James E. Sims (Acting), 1989-1990; and Teresa K. LaMaster (Acting), 1991. Rex M. Ellis was Director, 1992-1998; succeeded by Ann Phillips Bay, 1999-2000; and Stephanie Norby, 2000-2021. Starting in 2021 Darren Milligan was Acting Director.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1971
  • 1971-


  • Distance education
  • Public relations
  • Students
  • Education
  • Early childhood education
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Museums
  • Universities and colleges
  • Educators
  • Museums--Educational aspects
  • Teachers
  • Museums--Public relations
  • Distance education--Computer-assisted instruction


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00237

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