The National Air and Space Museum is the largest of Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums. The Museum supports the Smithsonian’s founding mission—"the increase and diffusion of knowledge,"—and its purpose, plan, vision, and goals.

When it created the Smithsonian Institution in 1846, Congress vested responsibility for its administration in a Board of Regents. Like all Smithsonian museums, Air and Space falls under the Provost and Under Secretary for Museums, Education, and Research.

The Museum is led by John and Adrienne Mars Director Ellen R. Stofan, assisted by an assistant director and four associate directors, as well as the director of Advancement, and assistant directors for Business Operations & Technology, and Exhibits.

Under the Chief Curator, the department of Curatorial Affairs consists of the Aeronautics, and Space History research divisions, as well as the Museum’s Center for Earth and Planetary Studies.

The Collections, Archives and Logistics Department handles the Archives; Collections Processing, Conservation, Logistics, Preservation/Restoration; and the Registrar’s office.

The Education Department oversees Audience Engagement, as well as Public and School Programs. Our External Affairs Department is responsible for the offices of Special Events, Communications, and Visitor Services.

The Museum benefits from the support provided by the National Air and Space Museum Board, which consists of up to 32 distinguished members of the aerospace community. There are no less than two regular meetings of the Board each year.

Approximately 70 percent of the Museum's funding comes from federal appropriations. The remainder is primarily provided through private and corporate donations, and support from the National Air and Space Society, the Wall of Honor, and special events. Other important sources of revenue are the business activities managed by Smithsonian Enterprises, which include stores, restaurants, theaters, and attractions, as well as Smithsonian media and publications.