Monday, August 8, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE 290: Become a member of the Smithsonian Institution

In the early 1990s, I became enamored with the Smithsonian Institution after visiting the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. during a pair of trips to that area. Since then, I’ve become a huge fan of the “Smithsonian” magazine and have spent more than a little time following the Institution’s activities online. A year or so ago, it dawned on me that I could actually become a member of the Smithsonian Institution, and the urge to do so hit me so strongly that I went so far as to put it on my official “bucket list.”

I’ve been working at The Evergreen Courant newspaper in Evergreen, Ala. since 2007 and the entire time I’ve worked there, the newspaper has had a subscription to Smithsonian magazine. I was flipping through it one day a month or so ago and noticed that the latest edition contained a tear-out card that you could send in for a subscription. Along with getting the magazine every time a new one is published, the subscriber also becomes a National Associate Member of the Smithsonian Institution.

I sent in the card and $39 later, I became an official member of the Smithsonian Institution. Following my new, one-year membership was a nice letter from Smithsonian’s Cheryl Stevens, welcoming me to the Smithsonian fold and encouraging me to take a look at my new membership card to see that it entitles me and my family to “many exclusive benefits and privileges” that they know we will enjoy. She closed by thanking me for joining the Smithsonian and noted that the organization looks forward to having me with them for “many exciting and rewarding years” to come.

The letter also informed me that my membership carries a variety of benefits, including:

- SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE: Exciting issues filled with history, science and culture.

- PRIDE in supporting a national treasure.

- THE GREAT COURSES DISCOUNT: Member-only discounts on history, science and other courses.

- MUSEUM DISCOUNTS: Dining and theater discounts when you visit the Smithsonian.

- GEICO DISCOUNT: Smithsonian membership discount may save you even more.

- And more!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Smithsonian Institution, it was established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge” and is now a group of museums and research centers administered by the U.S. government. Nicknamed the “nation’s attic” for the 138 million items in its holdings, the Smithsonian is based in Washington, D.C. Smithsonian magazine was first published in April 1970 and is currently published monthly with a circulation of over 2.1 million.

In my mind, I often equate the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian magazine to the National Geographic Society and National Geographic magazine. Both organizations and magazines are very similar. I’ve been a member of the National Geographic Society for a number of years and look forward to continued membership in both organizations for many years to come.

In the end, how many of you are members of the Smithsonian Institution? How long have you been a member? What similar types of organizations are you a part of? Let us know in the comments section below.

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