The Smithsonian's web site is at Can you take classes there?

The website of the Smithsonian Institution is at The .edu top level domain is normally associated with schools. I know that the Smithsonian runs its museums and also has a research arm that I suppose is similar to the research activities of major universities (trolling for grants, etc.).

Can you actually take college or graduate courses from the Smithsonian, or get a degree? I asked a docent at the Museum of American History in DC and he stated that he wasn’t aware of any classes.

As you can see in this article, a number of non-educational institutions were grandfathered in after it was decided that only accredited educational institutions within the U.S. were allowed to use an .edu URL:

The Smithsonian is one of those institutions that was grandfathered in.

The policy for .edu was restricted to accredited post-secondary schools only in 2001. Lots of institutions that registered domains before then haven’t been colleges. For example, my high school has a .edu domain. was registered in 1992.

This. The Smithsonian has an extensive research agenda, with full-time scientists who work in a similar environment to research Universities. The “public” face of the Smithsonian is in reality a small part of the day-to-day operations.

I used to have “back-door” privileges at the museum of Natural History. Spouse has done curation work in one of the collections there (putting in order one of the smaller taxon collections).

I think that it was restricted to schools even before 2001; the change then was just expanding it to cover community colleges instead of only four-year schools. The point remains that (and and the rest) predated the restriction.

That said, though, there are more conventional educational institutions that are associated with the Smithsonian, such as the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (which is also, of course, associated with Harvard University).

You can still get to the University of Toronto via, but it now forwards to the real address (

Yes, I work for one of the nine research centers, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. (Of course, most of the museums have an extensive research staff as well.) Although we don’t grant degrees per se, we host several undergraduate and graduate courses each year. We grant fellowships to students who are enrolled in thesis programs at universities, and our staff scientists serve as student advisors. We have hundreds of students at all levels working at our facilities every year.

Which one?

I just love the primary and secondary school addresses: they all ended in (where ar is your state abbreviation.) And, often, the ISP gets put in there, too, so you wind up with As soon as webmail started, I got a new email address. Unfortunately, all webmail was blocked at my school.

Due to her dissertation work, spouse became one of the taxonomic experts in a very minor North American coleopteran genus (its actually a large genus, just not many representatives in the USA - she doesn’t want me to say specifically which one). The collection had a whole series from the 1950’s, I believe, that were completely misidentified. She got a very minor paper out which, among other things, formally corrected the error - not that anyone will every read it :slight_smile:

She doesn’t do this anymore - she does medical genetics research now -a very weird career sidetrack.