Live

Our Shared Future: Virtual Exhibition Tours

Museum exhibitions tell stories using objects, images, and narrative. They present historical insights to help understand our contemporary realities.

Learn More
woman looking at headshots of people with different skin tones labeled as Pantone colors

Reckoning and Reconciliation

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past is a collaborative, multidisciplinary platform to explore how race has informed each of our lives, regardless of our individual racial or ethnic identity.

Drawing on the breadth of the Smithsonian's research, exhibitions, and collections, we explore the complicated history and legacy of race and racism in our communities and institutions. The work of Reckoning with Our Racial Past supports a collective shift toward equity.

Confronting race and racism is difficult but necessary work. The Smithsonian strives to create collaborative, impactful spaces, and amplify multiple perspectives in service of a more equitable shared future for all.

Our mission and vision

A Welcome Message from Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

An Initiative for Social Change

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past emerges from both centuries of systemic racism and its urgent, present-day reality. With this new initiative, we seek to spark positive social change and build a more equitable future through interdisciplinary scholarship, creative partnerships, dialogue, and engagement.

Ariana Curtis with Washington Monument in background
Ariana A. Curtis, Ph.D.
Director of Content, "Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past" at Smithsonian Institution
Through 'Race and Our Shared Future,' we hope to grow engaged, intergenerational communities of learners and doers.
Learn about our initiative
Photo of the 1964 graduating class of John Philip Sousa High School, from the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC. The image shows how quickly the student body changed from a proportionally white population to a black population.

Stories from a D.C. Neighborhood

Part of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum exhibition, A Right to the City, several people share their experiences with changing city streets, segregated American society, and preserving cultural legacy.

Start New Classroom Conversations

From teaching toolkits to low-tech learning activities, the Learning Lab’s resources support classroom teachers’ efforts to amplify critical conversations about the history and legacy of race and racism in the United States and beyond with their students.

A young boy looking at his teacher from his desk in a classroom
Conversations about race may be uncomfortable, yet it is at the edge of discomfort where we can learn the most.
Find resources
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Lonnie G. Bunch III Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
At a time when the nation is in crisis, all of our institutions need to contribute to making the country better.

Our Foundational Pillars

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past is built on six thematic pillars. Each is designed to make issues of race and systemic racism understandable, relevant, and, most importantly, changeable.

Ariana Curtis in front of an outdoor sculpture
Ariana A. Curtis, Ph.D.
Director of Content, "Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past" at Smithsonian Institution
We think about race from multiple perspectives, from the individual to the institutional.
Read about the pillars