Discovery Theater

Mission of the Smithsonian Institution: “The increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

For more information, visit their website


Smithsonian Associates advances the Institution’s mission to “increase and diffuse knowledge” through life-enriching educational and cultural experiences inspired by the Smithsonian’s research and collections for DC-region students, families, and adults, and for learning communities nationwide. Discovery Theater has been presenting DC-area children with live educational performances for more than 30 years. As a program of the Smithsonian Associates, Discovery Theater serves as a child’s gateway to the exhibitions, collections, and cultures contained in the museums on the National Mall and beyond.

Description of Education Initiatives: Discovery Theater's original programming focuses on heritage history, and culture, and accessible science and math. Every program and play is overtly educational while also engaging, entertaining and inspiring young minds. They produce a 10 month season between October- May with shows, touring productions, in-school residencies and performance programs in many of the Smithsonian museums and collaborations with artists, organizations, schools and communities. Discovery Theater also brings in guest artists and presenters each year to their intimate performance space on the National Mall.

Partnership with DC Collaborative

DC Collaborative member since 2001. 

"One of most enduring and valued relationships the Smithsonian's Discovery Theater has is with the DC Collaborative. This hard working service organization has been instrumental in connecting the Smithsonian with DCPS school officials, principals, school staff and teachers, and provides networking for the local artistic and educational communities (an important focus, since so much of our region is focused on tourism). They educate, facilitate and encourage partnerships and benefits to serve the DC area educational system, working behind the scenes in so many successful endeavors. We are lucky to have DC Collaborative. They truly enrich us all."

Arts and Humanities for Every Student

Discovery Theater is an AHFES provider! Teachers can view their AHFES Catalogue here

Fun Fact! Discovery Theater was founded in 1964 as The Smithsonian Puppet Theater, performing in a room in the NMAH on the third floor. An electrical fire two weeks before the theater was to open destroyed all of Bob Brown’s Marionette puppets, and delayed the opening by two months while new puppets were constructed.

In 1979, the theater moved into the historic Arts and Industries Building and rechristened as Discovery Theater and moved again to its current home in the H. Dillon Ripley Center next to the Castle.

Contact Discovery Theater: Roberta Gasbarre and Sara Lokossou at

Twitter Updates


Mailing: 975 F Street, NW
Location: 923 F Street, NW, #303
Washington, DC 20004
P: 202.470.6467

The DC Collaborative is a FY19 Service Organization grant recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The DC Collaborative is proud to receive a grant for its Collective Impact work supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.