The Smithsonian’s first Kickstarter campaign launched last summer and was wildly successful. “Reboot the Suit” sought funds to conserve Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit, a highlight of the National Air and Space Museum. It reached its $500,000 goal in five days, and eventually raised $719,779 from 9,477 supporters, according to Kickstarter.
Like that effort, this 30-day campaign offers a range of rewards for donors, or “backers” in Kickstarter parlance. There are posters, t-shirts and tote bags created by Tony Award-winning costumer designer William Ivey Long for smaller amounts, and video tours and parties for larger gifts.
The Smithsonian complex of 19 museums, research centers and the National Zoo runs on an annual budget of $1.3 billion, including $840 million from the federal government. More than 28 million visits were recorded last year. All of the Smithsonian entities offer free admission.