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A Washington Youth Tour Favorite Shares Resources

T Rex At The Smithsonian T Rex At The Smithsonian

The Washington Youth Tour is an annual event sponsored by the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and the state's 23 electric co-ops. It provides these young leaders with an opportunity to explore the nation's capital, learn about government and cooperatives, and develop their leadership skills. Students are selected for the trip by writing short stories titled "Electric Cooperatives - Connecting Communities" that explain how co-ops provide communities with much more than electric power. One of the favorite stops for the teens on tour is The Smithsonian and its 19 museums. While The Smithsonian is closed during the COVID-19 crisis, it is offering UCEMC members and students at home, free access to the virtual tours and educational links below. Enjoy!  

Dear Friends of the Smithsonian, 

We sincerely hope you, your families and loved ones are keeping safe and healthy during these extraordinary times.  By now, you may be aware that the Smithsonian made the difficult decision to close our museums to the public on March 14 due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in our nation and world.  The health and safety of Smithsonian visitors, staff, and volunteers is our top priority, as is the health and safety of all Americans.

We invite you to explore the Smithsonian's online resources by visiting and all our museum websites for more information on virtual exhibitions, online collections, and educational resources.  Further, nearly 2.8 million of the Smithsonian's collection items are now available for public use through Smithsonian's Open Access.

Open Access makes more of the Smithsonian's collections available for use by the public. Free Access items include text, images, recordings, research data, 3D models, collections data, and more. Open Access makes the Smithsonian's resources available to anyone, anywhere.  Open Access items are in the public domain and free of copyright restrictions. You can use Open Access items for any purpose, free of charge.  All of the Smithsonian's 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo contributed images or data to Open Access. It includes content across the arts, culture, sciences, history, technology, and design - from portraits of historic Americans to 3D scans of dinosaur skeletons.

The Smithsonian remains committed to supporting lifelong learners of all ages in these unprecedented times. Digital educational resources from Smithsonian museums, research centers, libraries, and archives are at everyone's fingertips, including content explicitly geared toward students and teachers.

For those of you caring for school-age children during this challenging time, we wanted to share with you a list of free online educational resources created by the Smithsonian Institution's museums and education centers.

  • The Smithsonian Learning Lab includes pre-packaged collections containing lessons, activities, and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators and thousands of classroom teachers across the country. Visit the Smithsonian Learning Lab's Distance Learning hub, which is being updated regularly with the latest information and resources.

Although how we learn and explore the world together has drastically changed, our hearts and minds continue to be full of boundless curiosity.  We, at Smithsonian, believe it is more important now than ever before to stay connected and begin utilizing new, exciting ways of sharing knowledge.

We hope that these tools will help to inspire and guide your learning during this time, and, as always, we appreciate your continued support of the Smithsonian.

Kind regards,
The Smithsonian Media team

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