Smithsonian Institution


What is your agency’s mission and how does supporting research in the arctic advance that mission?

The Arctic Studies Center (ASC, established in 1988) is committed to sharing and preserving archives and collections relating to the histories and contemporary issues of northern environments, cultures, and peoples. Anthropologists in the ASC consider northern peoples and residents to be their primary constituency and conduct research, as well as work with indigenous communities, in subarctic and arctic nations.

Where would one go to find out what research is being funded by your agency in the arctic?

The ASC office does not fund external research. Its staff conducts their own research and collaborates with other communities and institutions.

Where would one go to read about scientific research results from your agency?

Information about scientific research results can best be found on the ASC webpage, through educational outreach and shows such as the traveling Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend exhibit (2020-2022), and through the ASC’s annual newsletter.

In terms of budget, approximately how big is your agency’s investment in arctic research?

The ASC includes a staff of six, with a budget of about $1.5 million mostly in the form of personnel costs. In addition, grants and donations bring in another #200k per year.

What are your agency’s funding priorities over the next two years?

Over the next two years, the ASC’s funding priorities will include the touring Narwhal exhibit and boreal forest exhibit circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and premiering in 2023, as well as the 5th Thule Expedition (1921–1924) Centennial research, outreach, and exhibition, and projects in the ASC Alaska Office.

How does your agency coordinate and collaborate with other agencies to advance your mission in the arctic?

For the Arctic Studies Center, collaboration is huge. The ASC collaborates with Native and arctic communities, various federal government agencies, non-profit agencies, universities, research institutions worldwide.

Activities in Alaska

Does your agency have office(s) in Alaska?

Yes - based in the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the ASC Alaska Office was created in 1944, Aron L. Crowell, Anchorage Office Director.

Does that office support research?

Similar to the ASC in Washington, D.C., the ASC Alaska Office conducts its own research and prepares exhibits, events, publications, and educational materials.

Where can one go to learn more about your agency’s presence in Alaska?

Information regarding the agency’s presence in the Alaska can be found on the ASC Alaska Office webpage, as well as through the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska channel on YouTube and in the ASC’s annual newsletter.


William Fitzhugh
Director and Curator
Arctic Studies Program 

Aron Crowell
Alaska Office Director

IARPC Collaborations Links