About Jazz at the Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Institution has a long record of leadership in preserving and promoting the historical legacy of jazz, presenting diverse jazz programs, and jazz education.  The Institution collects artifacts, archival materials, and oral histories; is home to the nation's jazz orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), so designated by congressional appropriation; curates exhibitions and traveling exhibitions; offers research fellowships; produces recordings and videos; publishes books and jazz music editions such as the recently launched Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology; offers lectures and seminars for adults; and develops educational offerings for students.  Much of this work in jazz takes place at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, which celebrated the 14th Anniversary of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) and 24th Anniversary of SJMO in 2015.

In July 2001, the National Museum of American History announced JAM as a major new initiative, with the National Endowment for the Arts and a host of other distinguished partners participating in the Launch celebration.  Celebrated every April in every state, the District of Columbia, and some 40 nations, JAM advances recognition and appreciation of jazz as America's original music and pays tribute to jazz as a historical and living treasure.  Schools, colleges, concert halls, museums, libraries, public broadcasters, and jazz societies are encouraged to participate with their own programs.

Experiences At the Museum

Visitors to the National Museum of American History can experience jazz through: