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Smithsonian and USA TODAY Network Launch Summer Learning Guide


The Smithsonian is distributing a free at-home summer learning guide for K–8 learners in collaboration with the USA TODAY Network. “Summer Road Trip” is a 40-page print activity guide that uses the vast collections and expertise of the Smithsonian to take learners on a summer “road trip” of discovery. Through hands-on activities, puzzles and games, students will explore topics in STEM, history and the arts. The guide features bilingual Spanish/English language content.

“Educational materials based on Smithsonian research, collections and programming engage and inspire students and teachers across the nation,” said Lonnie Bunch, the Secretary of the Smithsonian. “This guide will help the Smithsonian to not only reach every classroom in America, but also to share our resources beyond traditional places of learning and reach students where they are.”

“Summer Road Trip” uses the theme of a road trip and iconic collections from the Smithsonian to connect activities across disciplines. Learners are encouraged to let their minds wander and embark on a trip to the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., making stops along the way to visit an artist’s gallery, explore local cuisine, learn about the local wildlife and much more. This guide is specifically designed to provide activities that can be done without access to the internet or a computer. As the nation continues to navigate education in the midst of a pandemic, the Smithsonian realizes it is important for young learners to have access to high-quality resources that span from high-tech to tech-free.

“Education is central to the mission of the Smithsonian,” said Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar, the head of education at the Smithsonian. “As schools and summer camps across the country move to e-learning, we are focused on bridging the digital divide by providing more accessible resources for students and educators. We are excited to collaborate with the USA TODAY Network to bring the fascinating content of the Smithsonian into homes around the country.”

The summer learning guide is being distributed in select cities June 30. An initial distribution of 75,000 copies will be sent to pick-up sites such as public libraries, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Smithsonian affiliate museums in Washington, D.C., and several states, including Arizona, Indiana, Texas, Georgia and Virginia. Students and families can pick up copies of the guide for free or download it on the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab site. An e-edition of the guide will also be available across the USA TODAY Network.

“As a kid, I would check out as many books as I could from my local library during the summer,” said Nicole Carroll, editor in chief of USA TODAY. “I was able to visit so many different places through the stories. We are thrilled to partner with the Smithsonian to offer this same opportunity to kids across the country with this road trip learning guide.”

About the Smithsonian

Since its founding in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been committed to inspiring generations through knowledge and discovery. It is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, consisting of 19 museums, the National Zoological Park, education centers, research facilities, cultural centers and libraries. There are more than 6,300 Smithsonian employees and 6,900 volunteers. There were more than 22 million visits to the Smithsonian in 2019. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 155 million, of which nearly 146 million are scientific specimens at the National Museum of Natural History.

About the USA TODAY Network

USA TODAY Network, part of Gannett Co. Inc., is the largest local-to-national media organization in the country, powered by our award-winning newsrooms and marketing solutions business. With deep roots in local communities spanning the U.S. with more than 260 local media brands, plus USA TODAY, we engage more than 150 million people every month through a diverse portfolio of multi-platform content offerings and experiences. For more information, visit

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