Each year, over 28 million people visit the world's largest and most popular museum complex. Established in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has grown steadily over the years, amassing the world's largest collection of art and artifacts - more than 200 million objects. The Smithsonian's holdings are so vast, in fact, that less than 2% of the collection is on exhibition in its sixteen national museums at any one time. To rectify this situation, the Smithsonian recently established the Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program, a program that will allow it to share its collection of artifacts, its programs, and its expertise with communities across America.

The Atlanta International Museum joins the ranks of only sixty-five institutions across the United States that are now Smithsonian Affiliates. As the first Smithsonian affiliate in the state of Georgia, the Atlanta International Museum is uniquely positioned to bring the resources of the world's greatest collection of art and artifacts to Atlanta.

Through its mission to "increase and diffuse knowledge," the Smithsonian has been making great efforts to share its resources and build strong relationships with communities throughout the nation. Affiliate organizations must, of course, have goals compatible with the Smithsonian's mission, and they must maintain the high standard of excellence that is synonymous with Smithsonian's exhibit presentation and museum education. After successfully completing an extensive and exhaustive application process, the Atlanta International Museum became an affiliate in May 2000.

Of the sixteen museums that comprise the Smithsonian Institution, the Atlanta International Museum plans to bring collections to Atlanta primarily from the following Smithsonian Museums: the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the National Museum of African Art, the Anacostia Museum and Center for African-American History and Culture, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art, the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Renwick Gallery, a part of the National Museum of American Arts devoted to decorative arts and crafts from early America to the present.

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